“Films are light.”

Federico Fellini


How should we think about light in order to use it as an expressive element in film production?  What can we learn from the countless practitioners who have preceded us, and the restrictions and challenges they have faced?



This simple, three-word observation is the kind that, when de-contextualised and quoted at the start of a book or dissertation, tempts the reader to dismiss it immediately as glib, pretentious and fundamentally empty.  And, indeed, it might be just that, but for two things: it was spoken by the Maestro; and it isabsolutely, penetratingly true.  Anyone who has responded to something in a film beyond its most rudimentary narrative content will have experienced the veracity of this statement; anyone who has been responsible for capturing and giving motion picture images coherency will know that to respond to light, and perhaps to control light, is central to, if not the very essence of cinematographic practice.

This studio will involve both a historical inquiry into light in the cinema, and a practical exploration of lighting for film.  We will begin to consider the complex interrelationship between practice, technology and aesthetics; between necessities, tendencies, trends and expression.  Our studies will involve film viewing, research and practical experimentation, but we will not be making a film.  We will assist one another in that experimentation and share our ideas and discoveries.



To begin to develop a critical appreciation of film lighting and an understanding of its ongoing importance.

To employ accurate terminology and practically informed understandings in order to effectively conceptualise and communicate in future practical endeavours.

To develop a preparedness to place these understandings in the service of the higher aims of a motion picture work.

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