Film School: Boring Locations Made Interesting

Cucoloris Cucoloris

… using better staging and composition.

Valentina Vee offers a bunch of creative tips (ie standard film production techniques) for adding visual interest to mundane settings (via Aputure):

  • Staging can be improved by:
    • avoiding blank walls
    • showcasing or creating depth
    • thoughtful coverage
  • Production Design – set decoration, including practical lights
  • Change your setting for better blocking and lighting:
    • showcase the most interesting features of the location
    • can you fit more story or motivation into your shot?
    • again: consider depth when resetting and reframing


1. Story
2. Blocking
3. Composition
4. Lighting

  • Wide Shots establish setting and determine lighting for other shots
  • Creative Lighting – including shadows and textures created or inspired by natural or environmental elements:
    • Branchloris – using branches to shape light
    • Cucoloris – using a cut flag (Cookie) to cast shaped shadows
    • Flagging areas to create less-exposed spaces, and draw the eye towards other things
  • “Sweetening” close-ups:
    • Backlight absent from the wide can be cheated in for close-ups
    • “Soft Face / Hard Body” lighting:
Film School: Boring Locations Made Interesting

Further Viewing

More on using cookies and cutouts to created textured lighting:

Textured lighting can also be created by more compact (and often cheaper) lighting with mirrors:

Practical Lighting adds depth and visual interest to shots:

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