Something which is apparent in everything film and is one of my favourite aspect of cinema is: the colour scheme. The majority of films usually have a particular colour which is associated with the story or, perhaps just the aesthetic in general. I think creating and applying a colour palette to any film not only shows creativity but, it also shows a great deal of skill in editing and the actual production of the film. With this in mind, I am definitely and one hundred percent going to create a colour scheme and palette to apply to my short film.
A film which comes to mind straightaway is: Call Me By Your Name. Even though Call Me By Your Name is a 2017 romance film, the colour blue is incredibly prominent throughout the whole film. The colour blue usually has a stereotypical connotation to the theme of sadness and melancholy but, like I said before, the genre Call Me By Your Name fits with is romance. What I have noticed in a large number of films, is that the [primary] colour used throughout the film does not have to be a connotation of the genre and underlying theme of the film but, it can arguably just be aesthetically pleasing. The example I have just given does not feature a great deal of sadness within the storyline but, the blue undertones look so pleasing to the eye and it definitely adds even more to the film. Furthermore, instead of the colour blue washing out the other colours featured in the film, pops of colour are seen throughout different shots which can add even more to the aesthetic of the film.
The importance of the colour scheme is largely to do with how the human brain responds to colour and what makes particular colours attractive.
English scientist Sir Issac Newton, discovered in 1666 that “when pure light is passed through a prism, it separates into visible colours”. Similarly, Sir Issac Newton also found out that each colour is built on a single wavelength and therefore, cannot be separated any further into other and different colours. With this in mind, when humans look at a particular scene (not just the scenes featured in films), our visual nerves register the differently colours in terms of the attributes which are associated with them: the amount of green or red, the amount of blue and yellow and finally, the brightness.
For many years, leading names in science have studied the relationship between the mood of a person and colours in general. It is evident that colours can cause a reaction which affects our emotions but, colours can also correct our well-being and mood. Even though many of us think we just “see” colour, scientists believe that we actually “feel” colour in their heart, and not in their head. In relation to this, studies present the idea that colours behave in three, main ways: active, passive and finally – neutral.
The many colours we have in this world all have a place on one spectrum and even though colour is completely subjective, these colours can create and present a series of emotions for the human brain to comprehend. Colours which are in the “red area” of the colour spectrum are described as the warm tones. These colours (red, orange and yellow) can arguably evoke emotions such as: warmth and comfort to the complete opposite of feelings of anger and hostility. On the other hand, colours on the cooler end of the spectrum (blue, purple and green) can create a calm feeling and can also create feelings of sadness or indifference.
Since it is so important to analyse different colours and their emotions and feelings related to them, I am going to look at all the basic colours I may apply to my film and see which colour[s] relate to my genre (which is drama) and the genre features. With his in mind, underneath is a list of all of the basic colours and their connotations:
Grey – formality, mourning, neutrality, balance, strong emotions, urban sprawl, pollution, entanglement, dust, dullness, decrepitude, decay, boredom, anachronism, wisdom, old age, subtlety, stability, reverence, respect, humility and elegance
White – celebration, empty and unfriendly, bland, hope, air, fire, unimaginative, fearfulness, cowardice, surrender, criticism, coldness, winter, sterility, humility, security, simplicity, cleanliness, innocence, peace, snow, purity, reverence and light
Black – rebirth, sorrow, lite, unity, anarchism, rebellion, conventionality, seriousness, sec, unhappiness, mourning, remorse, sadness, anger, anonymity, fear, death, evil, style, mystery, wealth, elegance, formality, elegance, modernity, sophistication, absence and power
Red – respect, summer, autumn, aggression, communism, socialism, radicalism, revolution, war, anger, blood, power, danger, passion, strength, energy, fire, love, sex, excitement, speed, heat, masculinity, leadership, arrogance, gaudiness
NOTE – In scientific studies, it has become apparent that red can actually have a physical effect the human body; the rate of respiration increases as well as a raise in blood pressure. Furthermore, the colour red is also claimed to make people hungry. In terms of modern culture, the colour of the devil is also red in modern Western culture.
Blue – aloofness, sadness, love, truthfulness, peace, friendliness, light, steadfastness, strength, nobility, royalty, wisdom, air, tackiness, obscenity, idealism, clones, depression, winter, technology, cleanliness, dependability, loyalty, ice, water, conservatism, confidence, coolness, calmness, tranquility, harmony, unity, peace, skies, productive, men and sea/ocean
Green – creative intelligence, calming, stability, harmony, balance, health, growth, natural abundance, renewal, hope, sincerity, eternal life, corruption, greed, lines, disgrace, jealousy, coldness, misfortune, envy, inexperience, aggression, grass, generosity, vigorously, good luck, money, wealth, environment, youth, fertility, spring, bad spirits, nature, life and great intelligence
NOTE – Green is believed to be the luckiest of colours.
Yellow – courage, deceit, friendship, summer, sociability, gladness, femininity, greed, weakness, avarice, dishonesty, illness, cowardice, hope, summer, wealth, idealism, intelligence, optimism, earth, happiness, joy and sunlight
Purple – penance, delicacy, romanticism, riches, pride, confusion, exaggeration, profanity, mourning, gaudiness, flamboyance, arrogance, enlightenment, wisdom, mystery, ceremony, nobility, royalty, wealth, creativity, spirituality, bisexuality, sensuality and envy
Orange – desire, autumn, danger, warning, over emotion, gaudiness, arrogance, aggression, playfulness, flamboyance, enthusiasm, fire, heat, balance, energy and happiness
NOTE – Orange has less intensity or aggression than which red is typically associated with; the red is calmed by the cheerfulness of the yellow, thus making the colour orange.
Brown – down-to-earth, roughness, poverty, heaviness, filth, dullness, dirt, boorishness, fascism, anachronism, tradition, stability, rusticism, richness, nature, natural organisms, depth, boldness and calm
NOTE – Brown is a colour which can actually stimulate the appetite, friendliness, wholesomeness and dependability.
Pink – love, sex, June, marriage, joy, gratitude, spring, appreciation, admiration, femininity, sympathy and health
Applying Psychology to my Film Idea
When analysing the different connotations which are attached to the colours I have just listed, it is important to apply these connotations to my own short film idea and see which colours would allow me to create a meaningful colour palette.
Since the twist at the end of my short film is mainly to do with the idea of technology, I was actually quite surprised that the colour blue has an association with the theme of technology. Blue is actually a colour which has many connotations which can relate to my short film, such as: sadness (my short film is of the drama genre where a common theme is melancholia); truthfulness (the young woman comes to terms and deals with the truth that her brother is no longer around and technology is just a substitute); idealism (links onto the previous point, the woman is almost creating this ideal life) and depression (this is referring back to the idea of the film being from the drama genre).
However, a colour which I can mix in with the blue to make it darker is in fact: the colour black. The colour black evidently links to all of those dark themes I discussed earlier which do consequently, fit with the themes and ideas of my short film. These themes and connotations include: sorrow (the woman’s sadness that her brother is gone and she is using technology to regain her memories with him); sadness, anger (the girl is angry that her brother is no longer around); death (one of the main themes of the short film) and absence (the girl has lost her brother completely).
After looking at all of the different colours and the themes which are associated with them, I think the colour scheme and palette I am going to go for is: a dark blue theme as it incorporates all of those different connotations I mentioned in the previous two paragraphs.
Whilst I was researching colour grading and colour schemes in the world of cinema, here are some videos I found incredibly helpful:
These next videos are not necessarily educational but, they include a number of incredibly aesthetically pleasing shots and scenes which I could perhaps take inspiration from for my short film in regards to framing, composition and obviously, the colour palettes used.
And, my favourite video: