Robin gave a really good lecture this week about the importance of lighting in film. He said that anyone can operate the camera, but no everyone have the skills in operating it well. At the end of the day, the quality of the film goes down to the basic control of the F-stops. (Reminder to self: Bigger F-stop (smaller aperture) = Greater D.O.F)
F-stops determines the depth of field in the shot, the continuity of a film. Continuity is needed such when a part of scene had to be recorded at a different time or location and that the exposure has to match the already-recorded footage.
Following this week’s lecture, Robin encourages us to deconstruct films when we watch them, and using the film language i.e, terms like hard light, back light, etc. Thus, I will be deconstructing a scene from Bridewars (Gary Winick, 2009).
As Kate Hudson’s character is seated at the hair salon, there is a mixture of hard and soft light, but more on the soft light’s side. I am saying that because there are no harsh shadows, but there is more key light on the right hand side of her face.
As the scene moves to the hair stylist in the back of the room preparing the hair dye, the lighting is pretty hard from above. This is so because I could see the shadow of his hair resting on his shoulder and the shadows of his hands on the table top.
But when Anne Hathaway enter the scenes, I could immediately tell it has a soft light as the lighting is overcast.
Coming back to Kate at 0.23, it is again a mixture of hard and soft lighting, this time with the key light on the upper left of her face. It looks like it is natural lighting from a window, but I can’t be too sure. Either way, it proves that the filmmaker has done a good job with the lighting.
Later, the hair stylist is seen with a very soft lighting as I could not tell where the light source is coming from.
In my opinion, Kate’s character and the hair dye is given a harder lighting to illustrate their importance in this scene. It is logical, the hair dye is switched with another colour, which eventually ruins Kate’s hair.
Robin did mention in the lecture that it is very difficult to get the lighting perfect, even professionals struggle. One example that he showed us in lecture was a Hollywood film where they had a scene on a boat at sea and the effort in creating continuity was awful.