A Tribute to the Source of Cinema’s Most Stunning, Emotional Images: The ‘Magic Hour’

Regardless of the film genre you’re most prone to watching, you’ve most likely encountered a fair share of “magic hour” shots throughout the years. The aptly named term refers to the short sliver of time around nightfall and daybreak, when the sky produces a warmer and softer glow, resulting in an unmistakable, natural, you-can’t-re-create-this-in-a-studio-lot-in-Burbank beauty. Or, as stated at the beginning of the short video created by Jacob T. Swinney: “It’s that delightful time of the day when you’re all exhausted and the light is perfect.” Truly a cinematographer’s delight. Just to be clear, this video has nothing to do with Magic Johnson’s short-lived late-night show.

Watch: In Praise of the ‘Magic Hour’ in Cinema