How often do we think about the effect that light has on shaping the human face? It's one of those questions that experienced cinematographers are always contemplating, but one that younger shooters tend to think less about as camera technology dominates most filmmaking discussions these days. Luckily for us, every now and again a profound example of how powerful light can be comes along that slaps us in the face and forces us to look back at one of the most fundamental aspects of cinematography: lighting the human face for emotional impact. Opale's recent music video for their song Sparkles and Wine provides one such example. Check out both the teaser trailer and the video below:
And here's the video for Sparkles and Wine in its entirety:
While the effect of the light source moving around on a circular path is a unique one (and trippy as can be), these videos from Opale hammer home an excellent cinematographic lesson as well: that the angle of your key light in relation to your subject can dramatically change the emotional tone of your characters and your scene. As Shane Hurlbut said in a recent podcast, "If you make every choice as a cinematographer based on the emotions of your characters -- whatever he or she is going through -- you will hit a home run every single time."
The concept behind these videos - the moving light source continuously reshaping and redefining the subject - is no doubt inspired by L'enfer, an unfinished experimental piece from Henri-Georges Clouzot that has surfaced in several different incarnations over the past few years. Here's one such version (there might be an NSFW moment or two):
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEyt2z1fuNA
What do you guys think? Do these videos make you think about the power of the key light any differently? What are some of your tricks for placing a key for emotional impact? Let us know in the comments!
Link: Nacho Guzman -- Vimeo