Saturday, December 20, 2014

Creative Flash 9 - Film Noir

Emphasizing Drama with Light

Film Noir is a cinematic style that emerged around 1941 and remained popular until 1959. The Maltese Falcon (1941) is one of the earliest and best know films of the genre. 

American films became available to European audiences again after WWII. Critics in France coined the name noir after the French word meaning dark or black.

Film noir is dark, both figuratively and literally. Desperate characters navigate dangerous situations and often meet with fateful endings. Cinematographers emphasized the drama of the stories by staging dark, shadowy scenes and emphasizing only selective areas with light. 

photo dramatic lighting film noir portrait male
Shadowy Figure - Film Noir Lighting

The film noir lighting style is also used in portrait, fashion, and glamour photography.

The image above uses a simplified lighting setup. Film noir typically uses three lights (key, fill, and rim). I removed key light in this case to boost the effect of mysterious shadows. This fellow looks as though he's up to no good!

: Nikon D800E
Lens:     Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
Flash:    Nikon SB-910 / SU-800 commander

Light happens.  Be ready.  Shoot hard.

Copyright © 2014 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

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