Oldschool Hollywood lighting 50s/60s

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      I realize this may be a difficult question to answer, but I’ll do the best I can to make it clear. I was watching a video from a YouTuber who makes AI generated videos that he describes as “1950s Super Panavision 70.” He does trailers of films in that style to see what they would have looked like back then. Dune for example, you can see it here:

      Obviously this is AI and not real, but I recognize the lighting style he is going for (the AI is going for) on the faces.


      It seems like frontal lighting to me that you used to see in old films but never anymore really. I know this is not a real image, but the style is recognizable no? If you were to look at that image above, and the films that it is drawing reference from, would you be able to say what is going on to get that effect? Or is it too difficult considering this is AI generated? I think it reminds me of 1961 West Side Story lighting on faces as well.

      Either way, your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Is this sort of thing possible today on digital?


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    • #215738

        A bit unrelated to your question, but in One interview (if i remember correctly, i apologize if i’m wrong) Roger talked about the lights of old western movies looking fake once you think about It: if the sun is projecting the classic hat shadow on actor face, where the light on eyes and face Is coming from? Once you realize it, it’s impossible to un-see It.


        M Ryan

          Typically this would be the look of a bunch of carbon arc lights blasting on to the face

          Roger Deakins

            You ask if its possible on digital and you show an AI reference that shows it is possible!  Filmmakers and cinematographers are dealing with the technology of their time. Lawrence of Arabia looks a little rigid and over lit today  but at the time it was state of the art. Could you reproduce the same look today? Sure. Would you want to?


              That’s fair, I guess I just meant maybe it had something to do with film stock back in the day that isn’t produced anymore, or old lenses that you’d have to use–things I’m just not familiar with as these films are so old and this is an AI image referencing those old films.

              It, and Lawrence, are definitely overlit as far as “realism” goes, I agree. But stylistically there could be reasons to use that look in a film I believe, sure. I find it quite stunning personally.

              Roger Deakins

                The film is definitely stunning! I’m certainly not denying that. Technology and tastes change, which is a pity because there is a place from different ‘looks’, On Lawrence, it was the style to see into the shadows.

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