Articles in Expanded Cinematography®:
"Beyond Just Lighting" by Blain Brown
We all know how lighting can be used to "get an exposure" or light the scene so it's "pretty." These are fine and necessary, but we need to explore what lighting can do for us beyond these basics.
Lighting can be a powerful conveyer of mood and tone. Light, and especially color, have the power to reach people at the gut, emotional level like few other things can; music and dance also share this unique ability. Light can also guide the eye (focus the attention), be an important part of composition and balance in the frame and serve as a visual metaphor; it can hide or reveal as needed by the plot. All of these aspects work toward the most important goal: Lighting as part of telling the story visually.
In this excerpt from Blain Brown's Cinematography: Theory and Practice (second edition, Focal Press), he discusses the power of lighting as visual storytelling. Read the chapter below: