Is the lighting in Netflix's The Crown really that bad?

A shot of Queen Elizabeth giving a speech next to a screenshot of a recreation from The Crown, which looks much darker
(Image credit: Netflix/Future)

Netflix's The Crown has faced a fair few criticisms over the years, with many taking umbrage with its somewhat creative approach to historical accuracy. There's also the sense of diminishing returns that comes with the events edging closer to our collectively remembered history. Oh, and the lightning too.

Yep, it seems that as well as everything else, viewers are taking issue with the bizarrely dark lighting of several scenes in the soap opera prestige drama. And it's particularly noticeable when shots can be compared with real life footage from the time.

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Compare the footage above of Queen Elizabeth's speech after Princess Diana's to The Crown's version featuring Imelda Staunton, and it's pretty clear that the latter is much, much darker. And it seems viewers think the problem is widespread across TV and film.

"So it's not just me right? Why are modern movies so dark and grey? It's like people forgot what light and colour," one user comments, while another adds, helpfully, "Honestly, the one thing I've learned from the Zoom era is that an additional lamp does WONDERS." But there are others who believe the lightning is designed to serve the story by evoking a sombre mood. 

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With controversial lighting, an over-abundance of CGI and even weirdly edited trailers, it seems people have plenty to complain about when it comes to the visuals of modern cinema and TV. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.