The Importance of Light Source in Creating Illusions

It started occurring to me last month why modern blue screening (or green or purple) drives me batty.

It’s generally easy to tell when you’re looking at a blue/green/purple screen situation because the actors have this disturbing glow around part of them. This is because whoever is controlling the lighting doesn’t understand their job. I have recently started wondering if it might help for these people to take lessons in realism…like the painting movement.

Of course, then I started thinking about how many illusions are made or broken by the light source. The illusion of a person being in a scene they are nowhere near. The illusion of floating heads or hands in a stage performance. The interplay of shadows. My favorite cartoon as a preteen demonstrated the power of light by making a mug disappear with the aid of a two-way mirror. Fantasy novels have often spouted that light and illusion are synonymous or at least intertwined, and it’s such a true statement.


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