A New Hope: Binary Cinematography

JRF x Against the Backdrop Photography: Film Photography

Welcome Back! Following on from last week’s first edition of the collaborative articles between Jack Reviews Films and Against the Backdrop Photography, this week presents you with one of the greatest introductions to a film franchise ever. Star Wars: Episode IV is iconic in film and pop culture history; it changed the landscape for what could be done with a movie and what a movie can mean to an entire population of people. It is this scene in the film that is the most iconic of all.



Luke Skywalker on Tatooine staring at the binary suns.

Jack (JRF)

Certainly, I think this scene is revolutionary, and it is accidental. The effect is caused by the camera, but it fit perfectly and that’s why it was kept. Once deemed scientifically impossible, it has since driven study to find that this is a case with some planets in other solar systems and galaxies.

Millie (ATB)

Reiterating earlier points made. The Star Wars franchise certainly needs no introduction; it made its introduction bursting onto the screen with some truly phenomenal characters and storylines, ensuring its place within film history. However, what makes this still of Luke and the binary suns, is that visually it is pleasing on the eye. You can’t help but be drawn to the suns. Even if by accident, it certainly adds a striking effect.

Jack (JRF)

The positioning of the two suns is particularly symbolic upon reflection of what is to entail across the original trilogy. The redder, tired sun seems to be setting, whilst the bright, shining star is beaming high above it. If this isn’t the greatest way of foreshadowing a movie outcome ever, I don’t know what is. The highest star shows the titled “New Hope” coming through, and as Luke watches to it, it provides that emotional connection between him and being with the stars.

Millie (ATB)

With every piece of imagery, you need to tell a story. Stories are vital. Without them, the image loses purpose. When you associate a colour, tone and theme with the title of the film- it makes perfect sense why the sun would appear lighter in colour.

It even allows for interpretation. Binary means having two parts. Could this even signify two parts to one story – in light of Star Wars this would make perfect sense, as we see it from two sides. The dark side and the Jedi’s – Good overpowering evil. The perfect thing about accidents in photography or film is that sometimes, the unplanned make for better outcomes than planned. In this case, it works well in accordance to the storyline.

I spoke about this last time. Adding subjects into the image helps tell the story.

Jack (JRF)

The whole basis of Star Wars is the light and dark side of the force going head-to-head and this, very early on, shows the light is above the dark. For what is a beautiful film with a beautiful story, this scene captures everything perfect about this film in ideal fashion.

Millie (ATB)

Let’s talk colour palette. Synonymous for the beige, soft and almost bland scenery that Tatooine has on offer, the injection of these colours give the place life. Usually seen are light blues, soft yellows – the colours are never harsh, contrasting to that of the harsh environment it is.

This is very clever, the colours used are darker but still can be considered soft. From the perspective of a photographer, the fact that the skyline is indeed pink in colour and continues to reflect that on the ground is great. It shows the power that the sun has. However, when the scene continues on and the light reflects off Luke’s face, we do indeed see a harsher colour.

Jack (JRF)

Personally, I think that, overall, this scene is intelligent with the use of colour and contrasts, especially with what it makes the audience feel. The sense of warmth it emits is unrivalled and perfectly introduces one of the greatest film franchises of all time. The harsh colours foreshadow that there will be a harsh reality awaiting Luke, but the imagery defines that there is hope, too.



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