Lighting Techniques for Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of The Ring

By: Heather Marie

There are two main lighting techniques used throughout the film Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring. They are natural light and low-key lighting designs. Much of Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring is filmed outside, calling for the use of natural light. According to Goodykoontz & Jacobs (2014), “Natural light usually comes from above—the sun or moon in outdoor scenes, ceiling lights in typical indoor scenes” (sec. 6.4, para. 4). Also, much of the indoor lighting and night time lighting comes from a fire source of some type (candle, torch, campfire) which is also a type of natural light. Another source of lighting used besides natural lighting is low-key lighting. The low-key lighting offers shadows and a darker presence overall, except within the outdoor scenes during the daytime.

These lighting choices are crucial to this film in particular for a couple of reasons, mainly the authenticity of the film and its setting. Since the film is set in a time where electricity has not been invented any use of harsh or heavy artificial light would ruin the films feel. Making it feel fake, or untrue to the time it is presenting. Such lighting designs also help solidify the craftsmanship in the film’s presentation as an epic fantasy. Not unlike the way futuristic films use bright or neon lights to give the audience a feel for the setting, Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring uses natural and subdued lighting to travel back in time. The specific use of lights in dark and light have also contributed to the genre “epic fantasy” in order to present good vs. evil.

Here is a clip showing how Lord of The Rings has used lighting to present a battle between good vs. evil. While this specific clip comes from the third film The Return of The King its ideal remains true throughout the entire saga, including The Fellowship of The Ring.


Gandalf The White & The Nazguls. (2003). LOTR: The Return of The King. Retrieved from:

I have tried to list the text as a reference but it will not show it on the preview no matter what I do…




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