May 8, 2020
Cinematography is such a powerful tool that it can turn a hero into a villain with a simple tilt of a light.
Villains…you know ’em when you see ’em. At least that’s the case in film.
In real life, “bad guys” look like everyday people—your next-door neighbor, your co-worker, even the person sleeping right next to you—which is terrifying in its own right. But in movies, filmmakers will often use cinematic tools to alert audiences to their character’s hidden nefariousness, especially when it comes to lighting.
In this video, PremiumBeat‘s Rubidium Wu breaks down several lighting techniques you can use to give your characters that iconic villainous look. Check it out below.
Most people, even non-filmmakers, know a few of the lighting tricks at play here. Even as kids, we knew shining a flashlight under our chin would make us look scary as hell as we told ghost stories—we just didn’t know we were using the uplighting technique.
So, let’s go over a few techniques and talk about some of the concepts that filmmakers use to make characters look like villains.