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The color in our lives is very important, because it helps us to warn situations around us, from identifying the seasons by the color of the leaves, such as noticing the "stop" at a traffic light.

However, also on a psychological level it helps us to transmit sensations and emotions. It makes us remember events or enhance emotions such as happiness or nostalgia.


This communicative power has not gone unnoticed in design, in areas such as fashion or advertising, but also in cinema, because through the use of color schemes, filmmakers reinforce or create a feeling in the scenes of their films.

That is why, in this blog post, we will talk about color and its use in cinema; about how filmmakers use it to create certain effects and how it manages to generate some emotions or others.

The color cycle

Color is a tool that serves to make stories convey a specific message or feeling. Therefore, from its good use, the power and aesthetic beauty of the images we see in the cinema arises.

For this reason, the "chromatic circle" is used, with which it is possible to establish criteria to determine the colors that will appear on the screen.

The chromatic circle in its simplified version, has 12 colors based on the colors yellow, red and blue (although there are other chromatic models), which are part of the traditional coloring model. Here are some of the most used schemes:

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    If you are interested in seeing more examples of color schemes in movie scenes, we invite you to visit http://moviesincolor.com/, where designer Roxy Radulescu has been collecting hundreds of examples.

    The colorists

    We usually see acting in a film as the most important aspect of it. However, many areas are involved in its production such as makeup, special effects, sound and of course, color.

    Those in charge of this last point are the colorists, who are responsible for adjusting the tones in the production of a film. A job that consists much more in creating atmospheres than simply in creating beautiful environments.

    Color correction is an art that, since the growing evolution of the digital medium, has been gaining more and more importance, both in high-budget cinema, as well as in the most modest productions and even television.

    At their most basic level, colorists (sometimes also called graders) maintain chromatic uniformity scene by scene. However, they are able to manipulate the feelings that the scenes transmit to us. In the following video, you can see more of this relationship between colors and the emotions they convey.

    Color and mind

    And why do these colors represent these ideas? Why are we able to perceive those emotions described based on the register of tones that colorists have chosen for us? Simple… our biology.

    Color has evolved along with us. Thanks to it we obtain information that generates an evolutionary response; This way we know if someone is sick because they turn yellow, that they are angry about the red hue or that certain fruits are not ripe because they are green.

    However, it is also true that over the millennia, we have manipulated pigments to represent cultural connotations. In this way, the relationship of concepts we make with colors also has to do with our culture and our conventions.

    Not everything is culture, not everything is genetic.

    As we have already said, color plays a fundamental aspect in our way of understanding the world and relating to others. Their perception is formed from an interaction between our biological and cultural components.

    In this way its meaning varies in each point of the planet. For example, all those works that are not subject to the Western prism, such as the films of China, where red, gold and white mean very different things.

    We can conclude then, that the number of options and the intention to play with the feelings of the spectators in the cinema is, without a doubt, an issue that we should always take into account when analyzing the films.

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    Have you noticed the use of color in this way in the movies? Do your favorite movies take care of this detail?

    Don't forget to leave your comments.

    Best regards!

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