Painting It Red? Learn How You Can Manipulate Colours To Enhance Your Film!

By Aditi Patwardhan. Posted on January 08, 2016

"How do you explain how magenta looks like? Or how turquoise feels like?"

Colours evoke various emotions, thoughts and feelings in our minds. We tend to associate feelings with colours, some through simple instinct and some from sheer conditioning. Colours affect our moods, our perceptions and good filmmakers are very aware of this & one of the biggest elements of the visual language of cinema is colour.

Ever since cinema left behind the B&W era, colours have been used to beautify, entertain and please us. Not only that, they have also been used as tools in storytelling, as subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) cues that convey strong messages.

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In these two almost consecutive shots from Up, a stark change in the colour palette signifies the couples transition from happiness & cheerfulness to sadness & despair. The colour palette in the first shot, where both of them are lying in the garden, reflects the vibrancy of their lives; while the shot in the hospital has almost no colour except the desaturated pink of her dress, orange of her hair and the dull blue of the doctor's clinic in the background.

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The Matrix uses a green tint to show the matrix world and a blue tint to represent the real world. While the tint can be added in post-production, the thought prevails throughout the production, where we can see the colour of Neo's murky green suit and the bland furniture enhancing the overall colour treatment of the film.

This amazing video by Verge explains how the use of colours is an important aspect of storytelling. Besides explaining the importance of colour treatment and choosing a particular colour palette for a particular genre & mood, the video also introduces us to the really useful iOS app, Videograde.


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