Observational Task

Yesterday we were tasked with going into Canterbury town to gather primary research for our final major project, mine is focused on film noir so I decided to find out more about light and how it adds mood to a shot. I also got some photos of things that fit within the film noir genre.


I answered a few questions before I left to carry out the research:

What do I plan to observe? – I will be observing light and how it creates different feelings depending on the environment. I will also look for anything that links into the film noir genre.

How will this help me? – It will give me a better understanding on how to create compelling lighting and use the environment around me.

What methods will I use the document my observations? – I will use the camera on my phone to take photographs of the thing that I see.


The First photo I took was of the clock tower in Canterbury, there is a mix of shadows and light which is a nice contrast and adds a different effect depending on where the subject would be standing.
There would be a sense of drama and suspense if the subject was standing in the tower where it is filled with darkness and it may hint the character is ill willed and the bad guy. However if the character is standing in the light then he may be considered good heated and the good guy.



The next photos I took go together as they are both of alley ways. This on its own gives a feeling of suspense as alleyways are commonly used location for robberies in films. The shadow of the buildings in the alleyway reinforces that effect of suspense, this could add to the film noir feeling as there could be a crime happening under the cover of the darkness.


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We then went to the vintage fair at UCA, there was a bar there which fit within film noir style. The bar is a common thing set around the 90’s which is a big thing in film noir. Neon light also add a really cool effect into a shot, it adds more colour to a scene rather than washed out background colours.
To add bring the saturated image to life more I could use Photoshop to keep the BAR sign in colour while everything else is black and white, this would create a cool effect which would make a somewhat dull image more interesting, however I don’t have photo shop on the  computer I am currently working on. I could also translate this effect into video as well.

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The next set of photos are film noir related as they go along with the bar scene, it reminds me of jazz which I commonly associate with film noir. It is set within a similar time period, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear jazz music in a film noir.
The picture itself is much better in black and white, it bring the piano keys to life and makes them stand out much more. By having it black and white the keys shine so bright that it almost looks like there is some colour to it. The piano also becomes considerably darker when it is in black and white, this contributes to the effect of the keys beings bright white.

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The last pictures are of a face sculpture outside the Marlowe Theatre, the way the shadow is covering half of the face almost mimics a result you could achieve from the three-point lighting method. It gives a nice effect that can translate into many different thing such as, it could be made to look like the face is peeking around a corner or through a door. This is a good-looking techniques which could be easily implemented into film noir.

The face on its own is sinister without any context. The expression on its face looks sad and again without any context it could mean anything or be used for anything in a range of different genres.

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For this task I took some very effective photos for the film noir genre, however I would of liked the photos to be a lot darker than they are. This could have been achieved by shooting later in the day when the sun is down, alternatively I could take the images into Photoshop and make it darker by editing it manually.

Some of the photos I took looked better when I turned it into a black and white image. This makes me think about when I do my Final Major Project whether I should make it black and white, which would also stick within the classic noir.

Observational Task

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