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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Cinematography Breakdown)

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Bruno Delbonnel and the rest of the camera department have created each scene in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (2016), a film with different textures.

In terms of the lighting used and combined with camera movement, it makes Tim Burton's film what it is; a remarkably detailed fantasy story.

Different lighting designs are based on which is the literal choice to create the feeling and emotions of our characters in the film. We pass by dark scenes from the current 2016 where the DP's vision it's to make us realize how bright and static our natural world is. Therefore we have the extremes from the past in 1943 when closer to tragedy and death. There's a time loop to make the day look as shiny and beautiful as the world used to be.

For example, if we take into consideration that our cinematographer and gaffer decided to set up on a small island off the coast of Wales, where they decided to make everything in our surrenders look blue, perhaps expecting us to feel cold and monopolized by the loneliness of a current small town and show us another day, another season and another age of the same particular spot but a place where the time didn't go on. Instead, create a loop between those two likely but appositive worlds.

In terms of the orphanage and the children living there, even though they live in an alternative where the world is falling apart, and they're waiting at the end of the night for the plane will let drop the bomb and everyday most of the time, start over which makes the lighting in their faces bright and rich in texture probably on purpose to gives the sense that their time, their age even though outside there's a war going on, they still being little infants kind with skills that the world it's not ready yet to witness.

The lighting in the remarkable twits scenes proves how important it will be to contain the special situations the characters are in, especially considering that the lighting has to play with different ages and days at the time will drastically change your lighting considerably. Moreover, Burton must meticulously shoot the master shots to keep the darker shadows or the brightness in the faces in a way that the faces will change but to the point of feeling that it's not the same film or storyline.

The consistent in the lighting design to create a world where every day it's the same day means being able to control the light to look exactly or more or less the same as the previous day, which would be vital to keeping the called "normal time" consistent and don't try to change by different methods such as changing the temperature by the use of filters.

Since it's a dark fantasy, the excellent management of the lights and then shadows in the sense of complexity is paramount to make everything look fantastic. The image surrender but shows the switch to a natural look without leaving behind the snappy and harsh lighting necessary to give the impact of wild creatures and situations out of our imagination and take us to a different alternative but still for us to believe it's real.

It's worth mentioning the time-consuming process that requires a lighting design like this to achieve the goal—synced with the VFX and live-action to take us to another world where peculiar skills and monsters threaten to put everything at risk. Our characters' diversity may help build the story and their respective qualities. The delicate use of different techniques is not taken for granted when it's time to recreate our darkest childhood fantasies, such as what happened several times in Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (2016).

Bruno Delbonnel recently has worked with Burton in past projects such as Dark Shadows (2012) and Big Eyes (2014), as we have seen in Miss Peregrine's House For Peculiar Children (2016), allows him as a cinematographer to show his flexibility with playing with different colors or lighting and the predominant colors on it—very different work from what we have seen so far. For instance, in Dark Shadows, he mostly turns the house from the vampire, the protagonist, into a melancholic and fragile old house, making it gothic but bright once the plot has searched its climax.

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