How To Light like Stranger Things - 3 Retro Lighting Setups

In this weeks episode, Ted is joined by Andy Rudzewski, an accomplished DP with numerous commercials, TV and feature films under his belt. Today, he’s going to show us 3 different setups for an 80’s look, made popular these days in recent films and episodic shows. Creating a certain look isn’t just something that is achieving in post, how you light your scene plays a major part as well. So, here are some examples of how to get that vintage look.

vintage look example

Setup #1: The ‘Stranger Things’ Look

The first example is inspired by the Netflix hit series, ‘Stranger Things,’ here Andy is trying to replicate the arcade scene where the guys are huddle around a video game with ambient light coming from the screen of the game. So, they placed an Aputure LS1c set to tungsten with multiple layers of unbleached muslin in front of the screen to produce screen ambient light as well as the key light for the subjects in the shot.

The second and third lights were a pair of Aputure 120d’s with blue gels to light the background. The blue represents that arcade feel as well as a color contrast of the tungsten shining on the subjects in the foreground.

lighting setup

[Lights used in this scene: Aputure LS1c, 3x 120d, 300d]

final image

Setup #2 From: ‘Scott Pilgrim vs The World’

The dance video game scene from the movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, was the inspiration for the next shot. The camera was facing the talent, from the perspective of the video game with reflective ambient light coming from the screen. Although the team had a much smaller space to work with compared to the movie, they were able to make the space work.

First, they used an Aputure LS1s with blue gel and bleached muslin for a soft overhead fill. The light was mounted on a c-stand, boomed out above their heads. The key light came from an Aputure 120d angled downward and bouncing off a slanted muslin with a pink gel in the center with an additional magenta gel on the 120d to further enhance the pinkish glow of the arcade game screen on the talent.

LS 1c with blue gel

The last light they used was an Aputure 300d with an orange gel shot through a window grill for accent lighting in the background. The most important reason why they lit up this space behind the talent was to great depth and detail otherwise the background would be dull and flat.

lighting setup

[Lights used in this scene: Aputure LS1s, 120d, 300d]

final image

Setup #3 From: ‘Tron Legacy’

The final setup was inspired by the abandoned arcade scene from, ‘Tron: Legacy’. In the original scene from the movie, the interior was really dark with a strong exterior light coming in through the windows.

So, an Aputure 300d was used with an amber gel to produce that big street light look through the window. A haze machine was used to soften the light and spread the light into the shadows a long with a second Aputure 120d with fresnel bounced off a black flag to add a very subtle hint of fill so the subjects wouldn’t be seen as complete silhouettes. Its the little things that can make all the difference in the world for a scene.

lighting setup

[Lights used in this scene: Aputure Fresnel Lens, 120d, 300d]

final image


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