Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jurassic Park is just such an incredible well-lit film, oh my god.

When the crew sees the baby raptor being born, Spielberg takes us from this really warm moment under the heat lamp:


To Ian Malcolm leaning on a desk, with a bright white lamp as a spotlight insisting that we really pay attention - in this spotlit set-up he delivers the most important line of the film, "Life finds a way."


To Dr. Grant, frightened, hit with an alarming noirish backlight as he realizes he's holding a velociraptor.


Three really evocative lighting schemes within the same scene, totally diagetic and effortlessly communicative.

Absolute masterwork.




7 comments:

  1. The technique used in the third picture is called "reverse key-lighting".

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    1. I never noticed how often Spielberg employs it in JP, he always motivates it within the scene but skirts damn close to pure expressionist lighting at points.

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  2. oh god please do a whole in-depth thing on Jurassic Park I know I don't deserve it but please

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  3. ditto Rick haha. It's always fun to find the formalist candy in the escapist-entertainment grass; and there's so much of it in Spielberg. Something that even his most ardent detractors should recognize, although they often don't. Another pleasing anachronism he brings to the blockbuster template: a fondness for naturalistic acting and mise en scene (see CE3K particularly, I think it was Dreyfuss who said he could direct a documentary film about suburbia with just as much passion as a sci-fi spectacle; hell, maybe he did - & then just combined them into the same movie).

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  4. Also, how can I see your film? The link on the sidebar no longer works.

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  5. Youtube pulled it? Damn. I dunno, maybe I'll re-up. Keep ya eyes peeled on the sidebar.

    The naturalism in Spielberg's works is a very overlooked element of their success - compare the background workers in JP with those in Westworld's. Spielberg's always seem to have a story on their face. I don't know how he does it.

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  6. Agreed. Star Wars is the same way, even though it's in many ways a live-action cartoon, the sets and extras feel so lived-in/alive (even those an anonymous storm troopers have room for casual shop talk before Obi-Wan distracts them). That's one reason I feel these films may belong more with the New Hollywood films they put out of business than the CGI surface-oriented blockbusters they helped spawn.

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