Commando (Lighting)

Many of the scenes in Commando was filmed in the daylight. Therefore, in most of scenes, the sunlight was the source of illumination. The lighting director would have to consider this, and set the camera close-up positions to be consistent with this source of light. For example, in the beginning of the film, Jack was seen carrying a log through the woods and heading for his house. In this scene, when Jack came to a brief standstill, the sun was filmed to be directly behind him. If the lightings were not set correctly, Jack would appear a mere silhouette in the film. In this case, a reflector was probably used to reflect the sunlight onto Jack, so that he did not appear dark. Low-key lighting was also probably used in this scene to emphasize on the brightness of the sunrise.
The last fight between John Matrix and Bennett took place in an underground room. Due to this the fill light has to be turned down to increase the amount of shadow. For instance, when John ducked to the side after having been shot by Bennett, his face was somewhat dark and shadowy. This could probably be the result of the fill light being turned down to a lower level. The dark lighting was probably done to help create a suspense and tense feeling in the audience.
Another example of a well-lit night scene was during Jack’s pursuit of Sully. When Jack finally caught up with him, and dangled him from the hillside before releasing his grip, his face and features could be clearly seen despite the dark background. However in this scene too, the fill light probably had to be turned down low to create a shadowy depth, bearing in mind that the only source of light in that place was supposed to come from the street lamps. There was also evident use of back light, as there was a distinct outline of Jack, separating him from the dark background.


Another distinct lighting effect was shown in the scene where Jack was preparing to launch his attack on Arius and his forces. After having prepared himself for the battle, he stood up with the rocket launcher in one hand and a rifle slung behind his other shoulder. In that scene, low-key lighting was probably used as his contour was clearly visible, yet at the same time, his features weren’t clear. The lighting director for this movie was able to control the use of lights to create certain desired effects.



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