Lighting Tests

This week I started to test out different lighting techniques on a very basic level, I started by creating spotlights for each of the bulbs in the scene, I then made the light that is emitted volumetric to get the cone like shape similar to the scene from Lights Out. Next I added an area light behind the character in the scene to give him  a stronger silhouette.

Playing around with red area lights


Setting The Scene

When I started researching cinematography in horror my initial objective was to model a scene myself however after spending a couple weeks modelling a scene i realised that it was going to take too long to get the specific scene I wanted modelled, after a talk with Penny we decided that it would be best to find a scene and then make that a horror scene. After a while looking i found a scene that I thought would be suitable.

This Scene was taken from by MartinDiavolo

Taking inspiration from Horror

Cult Of Chucky 2017 (Don Mancini)
Cult Of Chucky 2017 (Don Mancini)
Lights Out 2016 (David Sandberg)
Nightmare on Elm Street 1985 (Wes Craven)
Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark 2019 (André Øvredal)
Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark 2019 (André Øvredal)
The Walking Dead Season 1 2010 (Frank Darabont)

This week my goal is to look into Horror movies and find scenes that stand out to me and pick one or two i want to use as inspiration for creating my own scenes.

When looking for these scenes i found myself pulled towards the scenes set in very sterile environments like hospitals and mental asylums. Moving forward i think i am going to draw inspiration from all of these scenes in particular The Walking Dead and The Curse of Chucky.

Shot Length and Camera Movement

The next things to consider are the Length of the shots and the Movement of the camera, these two elements work hand in hand with one another and influence the feel of a shot, for example if the camera zooms into someones face and lingers on them for a long time it can cause a feeling of unease. Shot length mostly dictates the pace of a film, in a chase sequence you will find a series really short shots, quick cuts and fast camera movements. This creates a sense of urgency and tension and makes everything feel fast whereas an emotional scene will see the camera move much slower and a lot less with the shots lasting to let the audience take the emotional weight of the scene. Camera movement is an element of film making that at its most basic is a tool for the filmmaker however it can be used as a form of artistic expression. Some of the most influential directors ever have revolutionised cinema with their expressive use of camera movement, for example Alfred Hitchcock used a technique called the dolly zoom on his 1958 film Vertigo and since that day the technique has been used by directors like Steven Spielberg in Jaws and is now common in modern day cinema. Another notable director is Stanley Kubrick who completely changed cinema with the use of the steady cam for his tracking shots, now the steady cam is essential in most Hollywood films released today.

Breaking Down Camera Angles

One of the most important elements to consider when making a film is the camera angles you are going to use. There is a wide variety of angles and shot types that are widely used by all types of film makers, some of the most common shot types are; close ups, mid shots, long shots, birds eye view shots and low angle shots. there are many more but these are the most recognisable and most commonly used. like lighting and shot composition the angles used can convey a mood or meaning to the audience, a lot of the time this is used on to show the emotions of a character for example a high angle shot on a character can portray them as harmless or innocent whereas using a low angle shot on the same character can show them as evil or threatening. There are some shots that are almost exclusively used for establishing a scene or place, this is usually the establishing shot which is almost exclusively the first shot of a scene and is usually a long shot or an extreme long shot, this usually clues the audience in on details like where the scene is set, the time of day and sometimes the mood of  a scene. 

Perspective: Angles can Change a Character’s Mood or Feeling



Looking Into Framing

Other elements that go into making a convincing shot is the composition of the shot. There are a few rules in film making that can be followed to make a consistent and good looking film, for example when framing a shot you can use the rule of thirds or consider leading lines so that the audience can easily read a scene and the filmmaker can easily portray what is intended on screen. A good Director knows when to use and break these rules, when looking at a traditional Hollywood film there are a few framing techniques that are commonly used and are easily recognisable this conditions the audience into an expectation of quality when watching a film, this is most noticeable when comparing an indie film to a Hollywood blockbusters use of depth as it is an element that can change the whole dynamic of a shot. I found a few blogs and videos that break down all of the elements that make the composition of a shot.

COMPOSITION: Filling the Frame



Starting a research plan

When looking at cinematography i am deciding to break it down into the defining elements; camera lens, lighting, camera angles, framing, length of shot, distance and camera movement. I want to start with lighting as the lighting of a scene can influence the feel of the scene. when looking at lighting it is imperative that I look at colour as well, in cinema colour is used to convey emotion in a scene. I thought I should start by looking at movies that have very different and interesting use of lighting and colour as I would be able to draw inspiration and evaluate the techniques used in the films.




Suspiria (1977, by Dario Argento)





The Descent (2005, Neil Marshall)






The Strangers (2008, Bryan Bertino)






A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984, Wes Craven)





A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010, Samuel Bayer)


I found some interesting articles breaking down colour in film, looking further into the connotations of colour gives me a better understanding of why a certain colour was used within the context of a film for example in A Nightmare on Elm Street the use of strong blue light implies a distance from reality this works well within the context of the film as Freddy uses dreams to kill his victims.

Manipulating the Audience’s Emotions With Color

How Filmmakers Use Colors To Set The Mood Of A Film


My goal with this blog is to research a topic and expand my knowledge in a field that would be useful in my other modules. currently I am interested in learning about cinematography, particularly cinematography in the horror genre. I want to look at all of the aspects that make up a shot like lighting, camera angle, framing, duration of shots and the lenses used. I wanted to pick the horror genre as it relates to my short film production module however i also believe that the horror genre has some of the most stylised and interesting cinematography in all of cinema. Overall i want to expand my understanding of the technical and aesthetic elements that make up the horror genre.