The Matrix-Lighting Analysis

In the scene from The Matrix when Neo (Reeves) meets Morpheus (Fishburne) for the first time three-point lighting is used, as well as low-key lighting. It is a darker scene without much use of high-key lighting. The benefits of three-point lighting are many, but for this particular scene it is beneficial in setting the mood, which in this case, is mysterious. The audience is learning things as the main character, Neo learns them. The use of low-key light is evident as it is a darker scene; however high-key, back light and the fill light are also used to create the shadows that can be seen. If this scene was shot in high-key lighting only, it would take away from the mystery, and the mood would surely be confusing. The Matrix and other sci-fi films typically use low-key lighting as the scenes are generally dark. However, the three-point lighting method is common as well.

The following scene is a perfect example of three-point lighting. The scene takes place at night, which allows for some natural light from the moon when the characters move outdoors. This scene is suspenseful; therefore keeping the lighting dark helps to set the mood. The use of fill, low, and high-key lighting is imperative in this scene as the characters are moving a lot as they fight. It also helps to shift the focus from one character to another, and to emphasize the fighting techniques they are using. If this scene was shot in high-key alone it would take away from both the suspense and the mystery of it. The use of shadows is also evident as in many other science fiction films.

Due to the fact that science-fiction films generally take place in outer space and other alternative realities, it is common for them to be shot using the three-point lighting technique. Using high-key lighting alone would make it hard for the audience to take the film seriously, and using only low-key lighting would simply be too dark causing the audience to miss important aspects of the scene.

The Matrix First Fight Scene HD. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Matrix Meeting Morpheus Scene HD. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). FILM: FROM WATCHING TO SEEING. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.


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