Suspenseful Lighting How to design lighting to create suspense
Lighting every scene exactly the same will ultimately kill any suspense you are building.
Lighting actors from behind only. • For example, if you wanted to create a scene in which a mysterious figure walks out from a cloud of fog, you would want to position your lights behind the fog. The Silhouette
Light that only covers a portion of their face. • This lighting scene adds to suspense already being created by showcasing characters lost in darkness. Half Light
One of the most common ways is to have the main character well lit, but the background covered in shadows. • From the darkness, sounds are heard but nothing is seen. Total blackness of the background adds to the suspense. Horror Movie Suspense
Using a colored filter on your main light, and changing these filters within a scene, can create unease and suspense. • For example Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers” • Toward the end of the film, Woody Harrelson --- who plays a crazed killer --- is being interviewed. As the scene progresses, the interviewer begins to lose his temper, and the lighting on his face goes from normal to red. The audience isn't sure if Downy is going to snap or regain his calm. Within the scene, a red filter is used to place Downy's face in red light whenever he begins to lose his cool. Changing Light