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First Light Video's How Hollywood Does It: Techniques of Lighting is a DVD that takes a look at the history, techniques, movements, and people who create motion pictures. This DVD focuses on lighting and how a cinematographer and lighting engineer work together to showcase what is put before the camera. Lighting is a crucial component to filmmaking. We need light to see the film and we need lighting engineers to handle and control the lighting so the director can attain the look they want. Quite often what makes an average production exceptional is the lighting. This DVD discusses what tools are used to create different lighting set-ups and uses a number of examples to illustrate how this important element is decided. Lighting design falls into two categories, High-Key lighting and Low-Key lighting. High-Key lighting provides relatively bright, even illumination of the film frame or scene, the kind the director and producer of a big-scale musical productions may choose to showcase 60 dancers and 20 chorus singers and their elaborate costumes. Low-key lighting is focused lighting with strong contrast. Low-key lighting creates fast fall-off, which means that the image goes from light to dark very quickly, falling off into shadows or darkness. Low-key lighting works well in horror films, or any film in which a director wishes to create suspense or keep you guessing what is in the dark, inky shadows on the outskirts of the frame. This DVD discusses the following films and the lighting of each: Royal Wedding (musical) the scene is brightly lit throughout in both, wide and medium shots. Night of the Living Dead (horror) to enhance the suspense, the lighting creates shadows which heighten the mystery. Flying Deuces (comedy) like a musical, relies on a high-key lighting set-up, eliminating almost all shadows.
Jeffrey Hill is an associate professor at Morehead State University, Department of Communication, Media and Leadership Studies. Dr. Mark Graves is an associate professor of English.
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First Light Video DVD: How Hollywood Does It: Techniques of Lighting Review