can i just nerd out here a bit
okay so i work in tv so i’m always noticing weird things in shows and usually i’m like “neat!” but this time i’m like “holy shit the lighting department ships it”
because they make some weird choices?? and i’ve noticed them before but never put any thought to it and this is where that changes
it all started with this scene tbh because look at abby. our precious angel saint abigail griffin. she’s almost completely backlit, giving her an angelic glow, and they also made sure to diffuse the fuck out of her key light (the one primarily illuminating her face) so she’d be soft and romantic and there aren’t really any hard shadows here? and she’s got those adorable little eye-lights goin’ on, too, which directors use to make characters more trustworthy and friendly
now, that’s actually a pretty standard lighting set-up for this kind of show. soft key, teeny bit of fill, and a nice back light. which doesn’t give me a whole lot of pause until you consider this next frame because every damn time i see it i’m like “holy shit??????” like lbr this is some weird fucking lighting. only half of his face is lit, but it’s not even high contrast, really, it’s literally just this orb of light washing over the side of his face…. that’s closest to abby. angel abby. abby who calls it hope. abby who LITERALLY LIGHTS UP HIS LIFE i’m so done. like any other situation, they would have totally filled in that shadow but we’re MEANT to see that the light is coming from her
and those precious eye-lights, too, jesus fuck he looks like a goddamn golden retriever looking at the love of his life. he looks like he just found jesus.
now this next scene, this next scene trips me out because okay first off they’re employing the old “nothing exists beyond us two” rule where you get AS CLOSE A CLOSE-UP YOU CAN GET WITHOUT SEEING NOSE HAIRS and then you STAY THERE but also all of a sudden??? look at all those shadows???? they’re still backlit, which gives it a little romance but this is so harsh. like you can really see how old ian and paige really are in this scene, you can see every wrinkle because they’re lit from above and it just says so much about the weight of this scene and how much they’ve both suffered so far and this is the peak. and there’s shadows everywhere and there’s so much hidden (key word for this scene).
there’s a very, very clever trick here though that i like a lot where it almost looks like marcus has no eye light (i.e. honesty) at all - he’s trying to keep his feelings under wraps, so that makes sense, except look closer… there’s a teeny, tiny little hint of an eye light in the bottom right that didn’t come from anyone pointing a light at him. that’s literally abby’s reflection serving as what’s true in marcus kane.
AND THEN WE SEE ABBY and holy shit guys. like she lays it all out on the table in this scene right?? and what do we see? FUCKIN’ EYE LIGHT ALL OVER THIS DAMN CLUB she’s never been more honest in her LIFE and also she has significantly less shadows casting on her face (though the shadows that are there are quite hard, because as open as she’s being here, there’s still a lot she’s holding back), but the shadows decrease as she breaks down and steps forward. she’s completely lit, fill light and all, by the time marcus calls for the guards and she gives her heartbreaking little nod. (which is part of why i believe that is 100% an “i love you” btw)
but then this is what trips me out and makes me giggle. the damn lighting on this shot, the shot where we finally go back to a wide shot and remember that this is still their good-bye while marcus is in chains. if they’d decided to stay on the close-up they would have had to kiss, like that’s just how that works, but instead we get this beautiful wide shot and BOTH OF THEM ARE ALMOST ENTIRELY IN SHADOW??? which tbh is a very unconventional move and we don’t see this kind of lighting at any other time in arkadia but oh my god i love it because when they touch foreheads you literally can’t tell where one starts and the other ends and they’re one person and their secrets/shadows are shared??? aka “i love you” “i love you too” “but you shouldn’t know that” “oops”
AND THEN THE GODDAMNED KISS
LOOK AT HOW LIT MARCUS IS (ayyyyyyy) I BET YOU CAN’T COUNT HOW MANY LAMPS THEY SET UP TO GET ALL OF THAT TEXTURE IN SHADES OF BLUE AND YELLOW AND HIS SKIN HAS SO MUCH DEPTH??? AND HIS *HAIR* AND OF COURSE THOSE PRECIOUS EYE-LIGHTS which are now so prominent they’re literally shaping his eyes you can literally see how round they are
AND ABBY!!!!!!! I WANT TO SCREAM LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL BLUE HALO ON HER HAIR AND HOW YOUNG SHE LOOKS AND HOW SOFT SHE’S LIT AND OH MY GOD HER EYES ARE LIKE 60% EYE-LIGHT BECAUSE SHE HAS NOTHING TO HIDE ANYMORE
THEY PUT FUCKING WHITE EYE SHADOW ON HER TO MAKE THE SCENE MORE ROMANTIC I CAN’T - AND AGAIN WITH THAT GODDAMN BLUE GLOW IT’S ALL SO MAGICAL AND NOTHING EXISTS OUTSIDE OF THIS MOMENT
literally tho everything else is so out of focus nothing is even real but these two AND LOOK. THE MAGICAL, ROMANTICAL BLUE LIGHT. IT’S BETWEEN THEM. THEY ARE EACH OTHER’S LIGHT. THEY ARE EACH OTHER’S TRUTH. and marcus is even lit softly which they don’t do for men usually because it makes them look kindly and sensitive and that’s exactly what’s happened here and just
okay i’m done.
(i love this show, guys.)