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Chapter Six. Lighting for DV > Painting with Light

Painting with Light

Film (and film-style) lighting is both a craft and an art. The practical purpose of lighting is simply to make sure that the subject and its surroundings will be visible on screen by achieving the correct exposure for film or CCD. At the same time, the cinematographer's art of painting with light is a visual storytelling tool: It shows the audience where to look. Lighting technicians achieve both these goals by selecting and placing lights, reflectors, and other light sources on a location or set.

Lighting also establishes and reinforces a mood. For instance, TV sitcoms are always brightly lit and cheery, priming the audience for laughter. Horror films usually transpire in dark interiors with mysterious shadows, carefully designed to inspire anxiety and reinforce a scary story.


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