The intensity of the lighting or lack there of in the film Gravity, was amazing, to depict the imagery of light in outer space had to be tedious trial and error. The lighting throughout of the film was breathtaking, to be in a space of darkness and the atmosphere is illuminated by planet earth shining ever so brightly. In this particular scene the main character (Sandra Bullock) is drifting away in outer space all alone. The scene is dark and tragic and the only light that is available are the lights on her helmet and the sun setting on earth’s horizon. The scene was marked by extreme use of deep shadows, with very high contrast between the brightest parts and the darkest parts, which is called low-key lighting (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014).

The impact low-key lighting had on the film Gravity, was intense dramatization. The low-key lighting gave the audience a since of fear and vulnerability. The depicted deep shadows and the darkness of the sky in outer space, even the stars did not shine as bright as one would think. The only source that really somewhat gave light to the scene was the setting of the sun which showed a hue of auburn light on the main character. The benefits of the low-key lighting in the film was to show the calmness and the beautiful sight of outer space and to show the fear and anxiety and horror on the characters face.

The main theme of Gravity, was the rebirth of the main character (Sandra Bullock) getting her life back and starting on a fresh new chapter. Throughout the film it is dark and gloomy and the only light that is illuminated is coming the peaking sun and as the movie goes on towards the end everything begins to light up. The lighting suited the film very well because it was set in outer space so light is somewhat non existent so using low-key lighting transformed the movie to what it is. The film had to rely on the darkness and the shadows to portray space as it may be. If the choice was made to use high-key lighting it would change the whole dynamic of the movie it would no longer be in outer space.


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc.

IMDb. (2013, October 4). Gravity. [Picture file]. Retrieved from

Warner Bros. Pictures. (2013, July 24). Gravity-“Drifting”. [Video file]. Retrieved from


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