Cinematography is, in many ways, the unsung hero of television and movies. The lighting, colors, and shot choice can play a plethora of roles beyond the obviously important fact that the choices made with cinematography sculpts how the director portrays the show to their audience. These elements can also be used for character development, foreshadowing, and as a plot device, among many other important aspects that impact how the audience perceives the show.
In this post I will take a look at some of the ways that the first episode of Glow utilized cinematography to introduce the series to the world.
The show begins with this long, close-up shot of Ruth as she demonstrates her acting chops and masterfully delivers a dialogue intended for the male lead. Ruth is kept centered and as the clear focus of attention throughout this extended shot. We don’t know where she is, or she is with while delivering this shot. For all we know, since this is the very first shot of the series, Ruth is running some business and this is not a dialogue delivered from a script, but in fact her very own words. This is because the director focuses not on providing exposition here, but instead focuses on developing Ruth. We can see the strong emotions she’s attempting to portray easily since she is the clear center of attention in this introductory shot.
There are also a number of deliberate lighting and color choices made throughout this episode. In this shot, where Ruth first walks into the gym where the casting for Glow is taking place, the lighting is deliberately dim, and the colors deliberately muted. This gives the impression that the setting, and the people inside of it, are in a destitute state of affairs similar to Ruth, and appear to be desperately seeking work just as Ruth is.
These are just a few examples of how the first episode of Glow utilized cinematography as a means of characterization and exposition.