The question of color seems to be straight forward, however under a lens of heavy scrutiny, color can begin to become one of the most used tools in an experienced artist's tool belt. While color in paintings serves a slightly different purpose than that in photography and cinematography, their ultimate feeling remains the same. Color is a major driving force for emotion and impact, and when used properly, can help influence how a viewer perceives an image. Today I am here to talk about how to use color, to make your images more meaningful.
Color as a storytelling tool
Let's take a look at Arrival by Dennis Villeneuve. Shot on a very flat color profile like most other movies, Arrival was able to take full advantage of color to help move the story forward. Upon multiple watchings, one can see a trend in the color of the image, as different scenes contain an entirely different color profile in order to not only set the mood, but help the audience understand the films interpretation of time. As Louise experiences more and more visions from the future, you begin to notice a stark between the image in the future and the image of the present. The future is warm, yellow, and relatively comforting, while the present is a cool blue, with hints of green from florescent lights and grass surrounding the ship and the military camp.
While this trend is not 100% accurate the entire movie, its meaning holds true. As Louise begins to realize what has happened to her (and what will happen to her, so to speak) the audience receives subtle hints to let us see a distinction between the two stories in time.
What Does it all Mean??
While not everyone is a colorist or film analyst, everyone is able to perceive color. Its subtleties mix with the shape of light can be used to tremendous effect, and some of the best cinematographers in the world understand its intricacies and use its power to accelerate their story. Ultimately this is the goal of any good filmmaker.
I apologize for the shorter nature of today's post, but I have been slammed with several documentaries, photo projects, and work. It is highly likely I will revisit the topic of color, as I feel it is one of the more overlooked aspects of many indie filmmakers. If you guys have any suggestions, comments or concerns, shoot me an email at email@example.com, and I'll see you guys in two weeks, when I discuss how to achieve interstellar travel using only organic foods you can buy at Trader Joe's.