A Look at the Highly Stylized Cinematography of Larry Fong

Dark, moody, and super stylized—these are just a few words to describe the cinematography of Larry Fong.

From his work on 300 to Watchmen, DP Larry Fong has a cinematic style all his own. Though he made his big break shooting the pilot episodes of J.J. Abrams' hit TV series Lost, Fong unique approach to cinematography revealed itself when he began his collaboration with Zack Snyder on 300. Since then we've seen some pretty amazing images come from Fong's talented imagination, and this video by Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow touches on a few key elements found in his work.

Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAW6eUbOkz4

Though he's like most great DPs that cater their style to the needs and vision of the director they're working with, Fong has a real knack for recreating that dreamy, larger-than-life, super stylized look of the graphic novels and comic books his films adapt. Many of his most famous shots look as though they were taken straight out of a comic book panel.

'300' (2006)
'Watchmen' (2009)

Fong also has a keen eye for color. As Sudhakaran says in his blog post:

Larry Fong truly shines with his night shots. You can feel the tonality and texture of his nightscapes, even when his actors are silhouettes.

Just consider how huge of a role color played in both 300 and Watchmen—the sepia tones on the battlefield as Leonidas and the Spartan soldiers warred with Xerxes and the Persian army, or the bold hues used to bring Snyder's superhero neo-noir to life. The colors helped make these films not only beautiful, but memorable.

'300' (2006)
'300' (2006)
'Watchmen' (2009)
'Watchmen' (2009)
Sudhakaran's video is a great primer on Fong's work, so I highly recommend checking out his other films, especially the ones in which he collaborates with J.J. Abrams and Zack Snyder, like Super 8, Sucker Punch, and Batman v. Superman, to learn more about his approach to cinematography.     

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6 Comments

"Tries to achieve a naturalistic vision."

I'm sorry, multiple shadows does not a naturalistic vision make. There is nothing naturalistic about his images. They are beautiful, stunning, arresting, but not naturalistic.

October 30, 2016 at 6:30AM

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Michael Markham
Actor/Filmmaker
970

That was in reference to being lit by multiple city sources. I certainly know that when my friends and I are downtown at night there a bunch of mixed shadows.

November 2, 2016 at 9:11PM

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Spence Nicholson
Writer / Director / Producer
123

.

November 2, 2016 at 9:11PM, Edited November 2, 9:12PM

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Spence Nicholson
Writer / Director / Producer
123

Sareesh's video essays are a great for indie nofilmschoolers like me. They are well researched and each episode works as a wonderful primer. I go through several 'oh-i-didn't-know-that' moments as I watch them.

October 30, 2016 at 12:45PM

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Rajesh Naroth
Filmmaker
378

Incredible coverage! The whole story is just fabulous along visualization of pictures.
http://dewuchi.com/

October 31, 2016 at 6:21AM, Edited October 31, 6:21AM

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His contrast ratios on the face are insane. Honestly, his best work was when he was paying homage to Vilmos Zsigmond in the film Super 8.

October 31, 2016 at 11:25AM

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Filmbaker
Writer/Director
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