Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Fiachra Gallagher Lawson 

BA [Hons] Film + Television Production

Fiachra has been passionate about filmmaking since the age of twelve, winning awards from the get-go. Majoring in cinematography and minoring in editing at NFS, he is also a very skilled colour grade artist. With strong creative and technical skills, Fiachra is a collaborative team player who immerses himself in his work and is an asset to any film set. At the NFS, he took the opportunity to work across various roles on the film sets to gain valuable experience, knowledge and insight about all aspects of filmmaking, to better perform in his future career as a cinematographer.

‘Lighting in cinematography has a direct influence on the engagement of the viewer.’

Undertaking this research for my thesis really expanded my knowledge of lighting in cinematography and challenged my assumptions. It has deepened my understanding of the role of lighting in cinematography and how it can be used to further the story and influence the engagement of the viewer. During my training as a cinematographer, I was taught that it is not how many lights you turn on, but rather, it is how many you turn off that makes a good lighting set up. When I am coming up with a lighting plan for a film, I have to fully understand the story, the intention of the character, the genre, tone, and mood of the film as well as have proper knowledge of the location to build my lighting plan. My work on this thesis confirmed my belief that lighting used incorrectly will draw the audience out of the story even with a beautiful aesthetic. The rules of lighting have to be understood fully before one can attempt to break them. There can be a film without sound, there can be a film without colour, but there can never be a film without light.