Conrad Hall: Crests and Valleys of Visuals

"Lighting is so complex that it's hard to quantify. It's like playing piano. How did I do that? What did my fingers do? What made me think about where they should go? I like to equate cinema to music. I'm performing a musical composition when lighting a scene. There are crescendos, allegros and pizzicatos. The visual language is an undulating language, and, like music, it has to have its peaks and valleys. You can't just photograph everything beautifully; otherwise. how would you get the gasps if you had nothing but gasps? You can only get a gasp because the audience hasn't been paying attention to anything but the story and the actors. Then suddenly, there's something magical that grabs them. Those instances do something to the story and the individual watching, and it's those rythms [in the visual construction] that are important."

-Conrad Hall, ASC

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