Viewing – Look for examples of use of colour in film to represent
- Change of atmosphere
- Emotion of a character
- General mood or atmosphere of the film as a whole
- A range of feelings, emotions or atmospheres such as love, fear, power and joy
Add your observations to the blog.
Change of atmosphere – Hetty Feather
I was thinking about the role of colour for this exercise and as I was switching through the channels I came across the CBBC production of Jacqueline Wilson’s award winning book, Hetty Feather, the story of Hetty a young girl who lives as a foundling orphan. In this scene, Hetty fell ill with influenza.
The scene started with Hetty ill in bed. The colours reflected those shown throughout the episode, a greyish/brown.
As she succumbed to her feverish nightmares the blue tint was immediately apparent, blue seems to be a go to colour for dramatic scenes, used in thrillers and horrors, it’s a stark colour representative of cold and empty places, hostile and with threat. Here it shows how she is fighting a battle to survive.
In her distorted dreams the colour changes, rich, deep umber, browns and yellows, scenes of the countryside and bringing back the memories of her life before the orphanage.
Then she wakes and the fever has passed. The colours are back to the original and it shows she’s going to be ok fuelled by the determination to find her foundling brother, Gideon.
Emotion of a character – Series of Unfortunate Events
A childhood favourite, the three orphans, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are with their Aunt Josephine (who is terrified of everything, perhaps thanotophobia, fear of death) They are on a boat in the middle of Lake Lachrymose when things get very dangerous indeed.
You can see the fear in their faces, there is a great deal of blackness, the sky is stormy and orange (always a dangerous colour with it’s role in colour psychology) These foreboding colours matched with their faces show the emotion that something very bad is about to happen. Also sunset can be symbolic and represent the end of something (in this case, Aunt Josephine herself)
General mood or atmosphere of the film as a whole – The Durrells
I absolutely love this programme, it’s filled with humour, intrigue and character. Plus the young Gerald reminds me of myself as a child always wandering off into the wild, bringing back animals, adopting bees and butterflies and spending ages sat watching nature (not much has changed)
The lighting is bright reminiscent of holidays and sunny days. Skin colour is natural and has a slight colour gradient similar to Made in Chelsea. Set in Corfu the series takes full advantage of the weather to create light and airy images carrying the ethos of the show perfectly.
A range of feelings, emotions or atmospheres such as love, fear, power and joy – Teen Wolf
Recently I’ve been enjoying the Teen Wolf series, where a young high school student, Scott is bitten by a werewolf and enters a whole new world of danger. This programme really fits the brief as the range of colours it goes through would rival the colour spectrum.
Fear The scene starts in an underground carpark, the colours are dark and grey. The cars are grey, his clothes, and the lighting. It carries a dark and unsettling feeling which only gets worse.
Love Safe from the immediate threat the colours return to warm, skin colours, it has a relaxing romantic effect to suit this scene.
Suspense He knows something is watching him and assumes it is his friend but the viewer can tell otherwise as the blue tint is added generating fear and uncertainty.
Terror – the scene is white and flashing coupled with his expression and the terrifying event gone before the viewer is left breathing hard just like the character. It has a feeling of a stark place and a hostile one too.
I don’t think I will be able to watch another movie without seeing the dramatic changing of colours. Sometimes it can be so gentle it’s almost unnoticeable and other times the continuity jumps so much it’s like it’s a separate movie.
With colour psychology no-one needs to know the meanings of all the colours, it’s something that seems to be almost innate. Blue feels cold, red is warm, it can be because it’s associated with a memory in the viewer or because a generic thriller makes use of blue lighting. My sister watches Made in Chelsea and whenever they are outside there is always a deep brown and yellow tint, it generates a vintage mood though sometimes feels a little bit much.