Conrad Hall: Approach to Lighting

"I'm not like a lighting cameraman, who can light without looking through the camera. I cannot light if I can't see the movie that I'm dealing with. I've always imagined that cinematography is like a writer with a blank, white paper in front of him. Cinematographers have a blank screen that has to be filled with the story. I don't necessarily have one mental checklist of how I approach the lighting on a film, but I do have a frame. And in that frame, you have a subject to deal with that's involved with a story. You have to create visualizations that suit the theme and utilize all of the techniques at your fingertips to enhance the right mood. Being a visualist , I often absorb the environment around me and make mental notes. I don't even do it consciously, but I'm always noting how someone looks in a certain scenario. That impression gets stored away in my mental computer. When you're working on a film, all of your past comes with you, with all of the observations you've stored away; you bring forth the observations that apply to the particular story at hand."

-Conrad Hall, ASC

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