Have you noticed that a lot of films have their own creative trademark? Think about certain editing styles, or skillful cinematography used in films, they all have a purpose in storytelling (well, at least they should).

There’s many ways to visually tell a story in a film, one of those ways is colour. Colour has physiological effects on us and can help our brains navigate what emotions to feel, and understand the overall disposition.

This informative video breaks down the importance of colour and how different palettes can create emotional responses from the audience. There are 3 main elements of colour:

  • Hue
  • Saturation
  • Brightness

With these key colour components you can use colour schemes to help with the cinematic essence. Here are some great movie examples that use colour well, The Matrix for example, has a greenish hue to it, perhaps to distinguish the Matrix from ‘reality’ and convey the digital Matrix codes.

Another example is The Revenant, the blue colouring communicates the cold environment and the hue also reflects how the main character might be feeling on the inside.

The Grand Budapest Hotel uses bright and darker colours to give contrasting elements to the film. Wes Anderson uses colour extremely well and it’s definitely one of his creative trademarks, he’s usually known for his saturated colour palette.

Another thing to note, colours can mean different things. Let’s take red for example, it can signify danger, anger, strength and even power. In the movie Her the colour red is often used to signify love. So there are many ways colour can be used to visually tell a story, one colour doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning.

Colour grading can be a tedious and lengthy process, but it’s well worth it. If you’re a filmmaker that really wants to get better at colour or want a better understanding about the effects of colour, give this video a watch and start creating your own creative trademark.


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