Why Was the Battle of Winterfell So Dark? The Cinematographer Explains
While reactions to last Sunday’s Game of Thrones were generally positive, with a lot of strong feedback about how the Battle of Winterfell ended, and particularly the surprise identity of the character who ended the conflict between the heroes and the armies of the Night King. But there was significantly less praise leveled on the episode’s look which was, in a word, dark. Viewers were complaining all night on Twitter that they couldn’t see what was going on, that the battle was underlit, and things were generally hard to follow.
The guy who’d be responsible for the lighting in the show would be the cinematographer, Fabian Wagner. Wagner has shot several episodes of Game of Thrones, and he actually explained what happened (at least from his perspective) to TMZ. He says the episode was supposed to be dark:
The cinematographer also points out ... the showrunners and director wanted the episode to be dark. Wagner says the battle scenes were intended to be intense, claustrophobic and disorienting — like they would be in real life — but not confusing. Fabian says, ‘We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch,’ and he believes they did, adding ... ‘I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.’
Well okay then.
Wagner also blamed some of the problem on “HBO's compression of the episode” which affects the video quality on your television. He said the show is designed to be watched in a dark environment like a movie theater, which is a little weird since literally no one watches Game of Thrones in a movie theater. Your best bet is to watch the show in a dark room, with your phone, whose screen lets off a lot of light, put a way. In other words, if you’re complaining about the show being dark on your phone while watching, you’re actually making it worse for yourself.
The final season of Game of Thrones continues next Sunday on HBO.
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