If you're shooting a horror film, you need to know how to properly setup your lighting for maximum scare-factor. To learn how to get it right, check out Cinecom.net’s five simple lighting setups inspired from big horror TV shows and movies like "Stranger Things" and "It."
First off, Cinecom.net recreates the forest scene from the popular TV show "Stranger Things." They only need one light for the entire setup. They chose an Aperture 120 D LED light. They say that best place to place the light for this kind of setup is high above, like in a tree. Thay also say to keep the light as a hard source and angle it to the floor, so it will act as a backlight. And that’s all you need to do. This setup allows you to see lots of shadows and silhouettes, leaving more of your subject eerily obscured.
Next, Cinecom.net looked at the film "The Exorcist." In that film, the crew created a lot of silhouettes and used a lot of smoke to create a very dramatic look. They place a light behind one of their actresses to create a black silhouette and filled the room with smoke so the light shooting through the smoke would make beams of light. It's a simple setup, but it's pretty effective at making any person scary.
Nrxt up is this year's "It" remake and its iconic sewer scene — one of the big highlights of the film. Besides the fact that there's a creepy clown looking up at from a sewer drain, the scene is scary because of the way that the crew lit Pennywise, lighting the lower half of his face and shadowing the upper half. Cinecom.net says to achieve this setup, push your lighting through a cone and point it from an angle to the mouth of your subject, which will illuminate from the mouth and leave the upper half slightly shadowed.
In "Annabelle, The Creation," Cinecom.net recreates the strip of light you see shine on Annabelle when one of the film's characters cracks open a door to look at the doll. Cinecom.net is able to recreate the setup by taking a piece of cardboard and cutting out a strip for it in the middle of it. Once you do that, it’s just a matter of holding the cardboard in front of your light and you’ll get that strip of light effect.
Lastly, Cinecome.net looks at the film "Insidious," which has a lot of point-of view shots of someone holding a flashlight. To recreate this effect, you can simply use a real flashlight, but Cinecom,net says that using a Aperture 120 D with a fresnel mount attached instead might be easier for your camera to handle. However, whatever you decide to use, the spotlight effect will give your scene a scary look because your audience will only be able to see what the light is pointed to.
These are just a few scary simple setup that you can use, but there's a lot more out there that you can learn from and use. Take a look at your favorite horror films and take note of the lighting that they use and think about how you could recreate that effect in your own film.