Stranger Things Snow Ball

Stranger Things cinematographer talks John Hughes' influence, promises 'more fun' in Season 3

Contributed by
Jun 13, 2018

Since its debut on Netflix in 2016, Stranger Things has become nothing short of a phenomenon. From the lovable cast to the nostalgic feel of the '80s, the show has attracted fans of all ages and generations for different reasons.

To a large degree, that '80s feel is due to a creative team of photographers, who have a grasp on what the show should look like, including cinematographer, Tim Ives. Collider recently spoke with Ives, and discussed, among other things, which iconic '80s director helped influence the Snow Ball (the dance at the end of last season) as well as what is to come from Season 3.

When asked about what influenced the set piece of the Snow Ball, Ives said, “And really the idea was, in 1985, if you were in charge of throwing the Snow Ball, how would you decorate it? What would you do? What would you use? So, that was the mantra for it. We also looked at a bunch of John Hughes movies too, who continues to be an influence for us.”

It makes perfect sense. If you were recreating a school dance set in the exact time frame as some of Hughes’ best films, who else would you look at for inspiration?

Ives wanted to make the dance set as simple as possible, so a disco ball was rigged off camera surrounded by lights on a truss. That’s what gave the dance its “twinkly look all the way around.” He also mentioned adding snow, but the performances given by the cast on the take before were so on point, they decided against it.

Moving on to Season 3, Ives discussed how things are changing. “I think the show is more fun and more thrilling than it’s ever been, right off the bat,” said the cinematographer. “It’s super, super fun, and funny, and scary at the same time, which is probably my favorite combination of things.” 

As far as influences, Ives didn’t specifically name any movies they'd be pulling from for Season 3, but he did mention a couple of other big-name '80s directors: James Cameron and John Carpenter. Watching the gang try to outwit something Terminator- or Michael Myers-esque would certainly be something to tune in for. But regardless of what they have in store for the upcoming season, Ives is excited about it.

Stranger Things Seasons 1 and 2 are currently available on Netflix. Season 3 is expected to air in 2019.