Paramount lighting is a classic style, referring to the daily use of this technic by the major cinema studios in Hollywood. Also known as the "butterfly lighting", it evokes the shape of the shadow under the model's nose. Why this type of technic is simply the best to highlight actors, up until today ?
In movies, the importance of a lead actor, as well as its economic power, can be measured by the number of close-ups it appears in. And the light has to be perfect...
This light marks the eyes outline, highlights the cheekbones, the shape of the model's face. The shadows under the eyelids and the lights on the lower part of the eyes make them shine while the shade of the neck is relatively full.
Besides, Hollywood lighting is useful to hide skin blemishes and fatigue (the light reflects off the top of the cheekbones, erases dark circles) and old age, especially when it comes to highlighting a star. It hides wrinkles on the face and neck with a shadow, contrary to sidelight. Last but not least, adding a backlight stands out the silhouette from the background and illuminates the hair.
The icon Marlene Dietrich embodies perfectly this lighting. Fully aware of the advantages of it, she systematically turned her face towards the spotlight.
Technically speaking, the lighting consists of Fresnel-lens spotlights. In France, the well-renowned Studio Harcourt also uses continuous light for photography to represent the Hollywood glamorous look. During her visits to Paris, Marlène Dietrich, the best ambassador of this style, posed several times at Harcourt. It looks like the collaboration with the star was obvious.