Trippy Video Shows How a Person’s Face Changes Depending on the Lighting

Want to see how much of an effect the direction and color of your lighting has on your portrait subject’s face? Check out this trippy video by Nacho Guzman, who used a moving light and changing colors to cause a woman’s face to look like it’s constantly morphing.

The 2-minute-long clip is a teaser for an upcoming music video of the song “Sparkles and Wine” by French electronic music group Opale.

It was shot using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR and two lenses (a Canon 24-105mm f/4 and a Samyang 35mm f/1.4). The lighting consisted of two 10×10 centimeter LED lights that were fixed to a ring and rotated around the woman’s face, as well as a string of Christmas light-style LEDs.

It’s a very low budget effort that illustrates how different lighting angles produce vastly different results:






Guzman says the video is a homage to French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, who used the same effect in his unfinished film L’Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot (“Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno”). In it, the rotating lights were used to create a creepy, psychedelic scene showing the mental state of a jealous husband.

(via Vimeo via Xatakafoto)

  • photosforus

    This was strangely erotic.

  • Martin

    homage? i’d say ripoff… it looks identical to Clouzot.

  • Gregor_Albrecht

    So I just watched both. Define identical.

  • JOe

    crap the video is private and now we can’t view it. I’d love to see it.

  • Dragon

    What’s the point of posting a video if hardly anyone can watch it.

  • Igor Ken

    very nice. useful as an example for beginners! the position of the light source can be more or less pleasant for the features of the model!

  • photosforus

    California here, still able to view it.

  • Anne

    So boring and pretentious , just a copy, as a student work… what’s new? what’s extraordinary? a pretty girl in moving lights? waouh…

  • Anne

    really agree!


    Seinfeld already did this…

  • Norshan Nusi

    Reminds me of an anime opening video,

  • Liske

    Should be titled…”trippy how her face changes when her face changes”

  • alex

    viewable from France

  • Zorro

    Amazing video. There’s actually a technique in computer science that allows you to reconstruct the 3D shape of an object from as a little as three photographs – look for “shape from shading”.

  • Facebook User

    Shades of Seinfeld’s “The Strike”. ;)

  • Pavel Kounine

    I’m glad someone created this. This really proves the theory that people look most pleasant when illuminated from more or less above. This is because our greatest and most prominent source of natural light is the sun and sky, and they happen to light us from above. It’s a bias that’s programmed into our minds.

  • Ricky Brigante, Host

    Reminds me of Willy Wonka. There’s no Earthly way of knowing…

  • John P

    I do not believe that lighting swirling around is the only thing changing here. They are also smoothly changing the distance of the subject to the camera, and using zoom to compensate to keep the head size relatively constant. This creates the perspective distortion changes that we see here. (Before anyone starts talking about “wide angle lenses distorting”… PERSPECTIVE distortion is caused only by camera-to-subject distance only, not by focal length. Lenses can have their own distortion properties, but these are independent of perspective distortion.)

  • Diego DeLamotta

    This required a director and a DP? hahahaha. weakness

  • Paul Bender

    Has anyone else seen any other uses of this technique in different contexts? Not a filmmaker but have an idea for a project.