The direction from which a light comes is extremely significant and can affect the audience’s perception of mood, time and location. Let’s take a look at a few examples. Sunlight directly overhead signifies high noon, a time associated with climatic conversations. Light at a low angle signifies dusk, and can carry with it all of the emotions associated with the ending of a segment in a narrative. On actors, the direction of light can influence what the subject looks like. If the light is aimed directly at the subject’s face, their features look flat and unflattering. Overhead light tends to emphasize wrinkles in an unflattering way. The tops of the head and nose are hot and the eyes are dark. The overall effect is to age the actor. It can also infer a sense of mystery, as the eyes are hidden in shadow. Low angle light shining upwards produce an eerie effect used frequently in horror and suspense. Surface details are emphasized with upward shadows.
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