How Can the Color Affect & Reflect the Mood of the Film?

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When it comes to conveying a specific mood in a film, one of the biggest tools in a filmmaker's arsenal is color. Find out about how color can affect and reflect the mood of a film with help from a professional filmmaker in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Film Editing
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Tom Mitchell and I'm going to help with the question how can color affect and reflect the mood of a film. Have you ever noticed how some films have a warm lush feeling while other seem cold and forbidding? This is almost never by accident. It's caused by something we call a color treatment that is important to conveying the emotion of a film. The popular show "CSI: Miami" and "CSI: New York" are a good illustration of how different color treatments can affect the feel of two shows with the same premise. A color treatment is based on the concept of color temperature which gets very geeky very quickly but boils down to warmer colors are on the red end of the visible light spectrum and cool colors are on the blue end. The procedure used to create these looks is called color grading. Let's take a look at a couple of grades and see for ourselves. In the first example we have a scene where the intent was to decorate with bright colors and add some zing to the shot. The result just missed. So a treatment consisting largely of increased saturation and contrast is applied to complete the look. Next, we have an outside scene that was shot at midday and somehow lacks the sinister feel that the director was hoping for. A treatment featuring bleach bypass and cooler colors gets this where the director wants to be. This lovely shot needed a treatment that suggested a bad dream and here it is. Finally, sometimes a signature look is required to make a production like this music video more memorable. The right color treatment can do exactly that. So, I hope that answers the question how can color affect and reflect the mood of a film. This is Tom Mitchell. Thanks for watching.


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