I’m not sure if this is technically ‘a scene from a film’, but it’s most certainly a scene from within a film. As in, its the title sequence of a film. I decided to analyse this scene as its one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever watched, not in a disgusting way but rather in the way that it has stuck with me ever since I watched it and it certainly has a most interesting lighting setup.

Nocturnal Animals (2016) – Title Sequence

At the start of this clip, from 0:06 to 0:22 the only thing you can see is confetti falling within the frame. This confetti looks as if it’s been lit by a hard light, separating it from the black background and allowing it to be visible to the human eye. It then fades into a series of montage shots that show various women dancing naked to the music. These women are lit front on, by a relatively soft light that wraps around their body and castes them in a flattering softish yellow light, as if they were old Hollywood starlets. They may also be back lit as they seem quite visually separate from the background, which is heavy red draped curtains. ¬†However these women may have been simply CGI’d in front of the image of the curtains.

It’s quite hard to tell the direction of the light, but it seems like there’s a key light slightly to the right, which is above head height, casting a slight shadow downwards, with a frontal fill light coming from the left. Overall the scene feels quite dark and ominous, whilst still feeling romantic and beautiful. I think this balance was achieved by using a soft light to purely light the subjects, but having a darkened background to give the overall scene quite a dark and toned down feel to it. Whilst this is a pretty obscure scene, I do think it’s an extremely beautiful and most certainly moving scene, that benefits greatly from the dramatic lighting setup that the cinematographer has chosen to use.

Until next time,

Louise Wilson