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Film Noir Styles. Ollie Brocklehurst. Basic Film Noir.

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Film noir styles

Film Noir Styles

Ollie Brocklehurst

Basic film noir
Basic Film Noir

Film noir films were marked visually by expressionistic lighting, deep-focus or depth of field camera work, disorienting visual schemes, jarring editing or juxtaposition of elements, ominous shadows, skewed camera angles, and unbalanced or moody compositions (typically done by the clever use of back lighting).

Here is a tutorial on HOW to light a film noir:

Advanced noir
Advanced noir

  • The style of film noir was heavily influenced by German expressionism which relied heavily on the use of shadows and minimal light to create the visual style that is associated with classic film noir. The dark shots and settings that were used were designed to give a sense of claustrophobia and oppression to the audience as well as the darkness and gloom that these films were known for. Especially recognisable was the contrast in the shades with light and dark often appearing next to each other.

  • Overview of Noir



  • Examples of the low key lighting used include having half a person’s face being obscured by darkness or a whole person being shown up in silhouette to make them look more threatening. Similarly the use of venetian blinds with light shining through against a dark background would also be used to partially obscure a characters face and emphasise the contrast between the dark and light shots as well as add to the sense of insecurity felt by the audience.

  • The basics of lighting