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Noir/Black and White (3 replies and 1 comment)

2 weeks ago
Trygg 2 weeks ago

Dear Mr. Deakins

How would one go about lighting/camera angles while trying to mimic the classic noir style on a budget? Any advice would be fantastic.



Roger Deakins
2 weeks ago
Roger Deakins 2 weeks ago

I think it is true to say that the most highly regarded 'noir' films that came out of Hollywood were quite low budget. They were basically B movies.

One of my personal favorites is 'Kiss Me Deadly'. The lighting is brilliant because it is so simple, just one or two direct lamps creating crisp hard shadows.

2 weeks ago

Thank you very much.

2 weeks ago
Canuck 2 weeks ago

You should study the 1949 film "The Black Book" aka "Reign of Terror." It's a thriller set during the French Revolution and shot as a film noir. The legendary John Alton used plenty of shadows and dramatic camerawork to not only convey a sinister atmosphere but to hide the cheap recycled sets.

James Parsons
6 days ago
James Parsons 6 days ago

Several years ago I shot an extremely low budget noir, and though I do have some regrets with regards to the lighting, all in all it was actually very rewarding, and I found it much easier to come up with low-budget solutions in B/W than in color.

Probably the most important decision was not to diffuse the light very often, neither with bounces nor filters. High contrast and sharp shadows worked well as a stylistic shorthand for our story and made for a smooth transition between our brightly sunlit exteriors and our night and interior scenes. Also, it meant that we were getting the most bang for our buck wattage-wise, which was handy since we couldn't afford a professional-grade G&E kit.

You can see some examples of what we came up with here, if you're curious:»


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