For as hard as it may be to describe the actual essence of color, it’s even harder to imagine a world without its vibrancy. The same, of course, goes for film. Color tells a story in our everyday lives. So, it’s no wonder why color grading is such an important part of the video editing process. But, aside from providing a certain look and aesthetic to a shot, what’s the role of color in storytelling?
Since the age of the silent film, color has played an important role. With the introduction to color in movies, even just one color at a time, we were able to differentiate from story to story, and character to character. Today, this can be something as dramatic as offering a particular character a signature color, to changing the hues and brightness/dark tones of the scene when they’re around. In our subconscious as viewers, color is its own character, narrating to us how a scene is about to play out.
A lot of people tend to focus on music and sounds when it comes to the overall mood and feel of a scene. But, color is just as important. For example, you wouldn’t have a suspenseful shot in a haunted house filled with bright whites and soft golden hues, would you? Instead, dark and ominous color grading allows the viewer to further invest themselves in the story. Color carries emotional weight. Even scenery, objects, buildings, etc. can tell us just how serious, or solemn, or sophisticated something is going to be.
Color in itself is a phenomenon that directly connects with our emotions, and how we feel about literally everything. Look at the great battles in Star Wars movies: Who’s good? Who’s bad? We can tell instantly by the colors of the lightsabers, and that’s a small example in a world full of film, where color makes the difference. On one hand, it makes perfect sense to consider the fact that something surrounding us every second of the day would have ties to how we feel, and what we think.
On the other hand, however, studying the very idea of color in film, and how it can completely change things with just a different tint is pretty astounding. Instead of focusing solely on aesthetics when you’re color grading, try to focus on the story your color is telling.
Have questions about color?
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