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Paramount Lighting

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Rick Wise
Paramount Lighting
on Jul 1, 2010 at 5:16:48 pm

I'm trying to uncover the origin of the term, Paramount Lighting. Online sources are vague and sometimes flat out wrong. As far as I can tell, the term stems from a style of portrait lighting employed at Paramount Studios in the 1950s. Since then filmmakers have sometimes used it as well. If anyone has more accurate information, I'd be most grateful.

(In Paramount Lighting, or Butterfly Lighting, the key is directly over the camera and about 45ยบ above horizontal, and can be hard or soft. A second fill light or reflector either just above or below the lens fills in the shadows. Properly adjusted, this light is flattering to people with high cheek bones and thin faces. However, it can be used to a wide variety of strong effect on a wide variety of subjects. A Time Magazine cover-portrait in this style of Putin as "Man of the Year" is anything but glamorous. (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/o...) The alternative term, butterfly lighting, comes from the short shadow under the nose which somewhat resembles the outstretched wings of a butterfly.)

Rick Wise
director of photography
San Francisco Bay Area
and part-time instructor lighting and camera
grad school, SF Academy of Art University/Film and Video
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Paramount Lighting
on Jul 11, 2010 at 4:46:23 pm

Not sure about the origin, but I wonder what Putin thought of the result?


Vince Becquiot

Kaptis Studios
San Francisco - Bay Area


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