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Lighting Breakdown EP.01: John Wick Chapter 04

Hello again to our devoted followers of “Lighting Breakdown“! It feels like it’s been ages, doesn’t it?

For those who might be joining us for the first time or simply need a refresher, my name is Marco Robinson. I proudly wear many hats: I’m the driving force behind the Ci-Lovers Community, the voice behind the insightful articles here on the Ci-Lovers website, the hand that meticulously crafts Lighting Diagrams on our Instagram page, and the mind that curates engaging posts for our Facebook audience.

Today, I’m embarking on an intricate journey — one that delves deep into the art and science of lighting in cinema. This is more than just a series; it’s a passion project aimed at exploring and understanding the brilliant lighting choices in some of cinema’s most celebrated films, while also sharing my deep-rooted passion for cinematography with all of you.

Our first stop? The adrenaline-charged universe of “The John Wick Chapter 04“. A personal favorite of mine, I can’t wait to dissect its lighting intricacies with you. And as we journey together, I warmly welcome your feedback, thoughts, and even critiques. If there’s a particular movie you’re itching to explore through this lighting lens, do let me know in the comments or suggestions section.

So, with the introductions out of the way, shall we dive deep into the world of cinematic lighting? Let the exploration begin!


John Wick Chapter 4

As someone who deeply admires the artistic prowess of Roger Deakins, especially his signature silhouettes, this shot holds a special place in my heart. It’s an absolute marvel in my eyes, with its striking contrast and the harmonious play of cyan, blue, and saturated orange hues. Within this shot, three primary light sources orchestrate the magic we witness. However, the world of cinematography is complex, so I might be a tad off; there could indeed be more sources at play.

Starting with what I’ve marked as N°01, our attention is immediately drawn to the intense light beam filtering in from the window, positioned in the top right of our frame.

John Wick Chapter 4

To achieve such an assertive and potent light beam, they might have employed the power of a 20K Mole beam or perhaps even melded the capabilities of the Arri M18. Whichever tool was chosen, it’s evident that a powerful light source was at play, and of course a lot of haze.

The scene’s intricacies continue with the three windows N°02. Their role cannot be overstated. They cleverly cast silhouettes of the two characters gazing intently at Wiston, masterfully portrayed by Ian McShane. These shadowed figures evoke an air of mystery, a feeling of the unknown about their intentions. To attain that diffused glow in the windows, I believe two techniques could’ve been in the cards.

John Wick Chapter 4 cinematography

Lighting Diagram Made With The Lighting Diagram Toolkit

The first? Positioning a large reflector, then directing multiple light fixtures towards it. The resultant light bounces back to the window, which is likely cloaked in diffusion (see the accompanying diagram for clarity). An alternative method to achieve this soft, overcast appearance involves positioning a vast diffusion sheet over the window, then bathing it in light from multiple fixtures.

Of the two techniques, the former strikes me as the most plausible candidate to recreate the observed effect.

Then there are the two Practical lights, labeled here as N°03: Drenched in a warm hue, they offer a captivating color contrast. The interplay between the icy cyan of the beam of light and the cozy orange of these practical lights is nothing short of cinematographic poetry, creating an exquisite balance and harmony of colors.

Technical Insights:

Aspect Ratio: 2.39 – Anamorphic

Frame Size: Wide

Shot Type: Establishing Shot

Composition: Balanced, Symmetrical,

Lighting Characteristics: Daylight, Overcast, Artificial Light

Lighting: Soft light, Sidelight

Camera: Arri Alexa LF

Resolution: Arriraw 4.5K

Alas! Though you’ve seen the first shot, two more shots await. To unveil the rest, join me for the complete episodes of “Lighting Breakdown” in my membership, “Ci-Breakdown.” I share two comprehensive Lighting Breakdown episodes weekly, with three shots per episode. ➡️ UNLOCK NOW 

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  • Complete episodes of “Lighting Breakdown
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This modest fee isn’t just a subscription; it’s a gesture of support that goes directly into fueling our passion for content creation. It’s worth noting that platforms like Shotdeck, where I curate these invaluable stills, come with their own costs. Additionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with a dedicated team, whose collective efforts assist in the creation and management of this enriching content. Every bit of your support significantly aids our mission.

A huge thank you to each one of you for being the wind beneath our wings. Join us now and let’s continue our journey through the art of cinematic lighting together!


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