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The Application of Color in Films

For film and television creators, there are many tools and means available to them, and the use of color is one of them.


For film and television creators, there are many tools and means available to them, and the use of color is one of them. The reaction of color vision to color can directly affect the audiences emotional cognition and inject emotion into the picture. In film creation, the use of color can be used to help shape the atmosphere and convey the emotions that the director wants to express more realistically and accurately. Each color has its own unique meaning and symbolic meaning. As a director or photographer, know how to use color It is very important to tell a story. This article will use specific movie images to understand the role of color in movie narrative.

The three primary colors of light are red, yellow, and blue, and the other colors we see are mixed in different proportions based on these three primary colors. In color selection, there are three factors that affect.

Red, which is reminiscent of flames and blood, is emotionally more passionate, warm, and full of energy. It may make the audience feel excited, anxious, or motivated. Some directors use red to express enthusiasm and celebration, while others use it to express hatred and cruelty. At the end of the movie "La La Land", the director used a lot of red to create a vibrant and enthusiastic atmosphere to express the protagonist”s love for music.

La La Land》

The red in "Red Sorghum" is the main color throughout the film, which well conveys the two extreme visual emotions of red enthusiasm, festiveness and bloody brutality.

The protagonist of the film, Jiuer, is dressed in red. Red makes this character passionate. She dares to think and do, and lives her life vigorously. Even if she falls into a red sorghum field, she is still full of courage. , let the audience feel the passionate vitality of the protagonist.

Red Sorghum》

On the contrary, after the character Luo Han was murdered, the red color has the connotation of hatred and anger. Everyone is holding red sorghum wine, and the surrounding red flames are burning violently. The strong sadness and indignation formed a strong contrast with the enthusiasm and vitality atmosphere presented earlier.

Red Sorghum》

The color closest to plants is green, so green is endowed with many meanings of life, hope, and healing.

 Little Forest Summer & Autumn》

But at the same time, green can also render a horrible and criminal atmosphere. For example, in the thriller crime movie "Green Room", in a small room, the use of green strengthens the sense of oppression of the space and the sense of field depression.

《Green Room》

Blue is like the color of the sea, it will be more calm, rational, and heavy. Some directors will choose to use blue tones to highlight the loneliness of the characters in the film and create a dull and depressing atmosphere.

The opening scene of the movie "Swan Elegy" uses dim indoor light and a large area of blue tones, so that the protagonist is in it, and it is also dyed blue and black. Blue itself is a cool color, which tends to make people feel calmer, while adding black to blue makes the mood more heavy and melancholy. The protagonist Cameron is terminally ill, and the only solution is to create a clone to replace him and The family lives together, the regret and loneliness brought about by such a helpless reality, the director also expressed it through blue tones.

Swan Song》

Most sci-fi movies choose to use a lot of blue tones to create a sense of technology and future.

《Blade Runner 2049》

Yellow/gold/orange will give people a feeling of light, hope, and confidence; since the color of gold is gold, gold also has a symbolic meaning of power, nobility, and brilliance.

One of Zhang Yimou”s representative works "Curse of Gold" is adapted from the drama "Thunderstorm". Gold is used as the main color of the movie and is used in many scenes such as decoration, clothing, and character modeling; in China, gold is a noble status and a symbol of authority, while in the movie there is a more oppressive and suffocating sense of control. The emperor and imperial power turned the golden color on and around everyone into invisible shackles, bringing pressure and cold fear.

《Curse of the Golden Flower》

In the movie "Love Letter", the director used golden yellow as the main color when shooting the memory clips, creating a warm and friendly feeling in the memories.

《Love Letter》

The golden coating used by Vespid Retro has a unique amber gradient halo and light spots. Appropriate color embellishment makes the picture show warm tones and soft skin texture, which evokes those memories under the sun. This coating process can satisfy Film creators need to shoot retro and stylized images.

Footage taken with Vespid Retro

In addition to the use of a certain color, some directors even use black and white and color alternately in the film to enhance the visual tension of the film and the emotions of the characters. Black is often seen as a powerful, serious and dignified color. It may make the audience feel solemn and solemn. White is often seen as a color of purity, purity and simplicity. It may make the viewer feel calm and serene.

In the movie "Happy Together", Wong Kar Wai used a lot of black and white tones, and only realized the difference in black and white colors through saturation and light and dark contrast. Black and white are the two colors with the highest difference in color. One has the highest brightness and the other has the lowest brightness. The combination can create a strong sense of atmosphere. In the film, many scenes of the protagonists Li Yaoxiang and He Baorong are black and white , Dark and depressing, the emotional tension between the two is very strong, but the overall atmosphere is always full of tragedy; and when the life of the protagonist of the film turns positive, the film screen will become colorful, this color change It intuitively expresses the protagonist”s mood and state of life. It is an emotional expression of saying goodbye to the past and full of hope for the future.

《Happy Together》

As an art form, the application of color is very important in film. The use of color can not only stimulate the emotions of the audience, but also help the audience better understand the emotions in the film. Of course, the above emotions conveyed by color are not absolute, but it can also be seen that the use of color can be very flexible, and the impact of different use of color on the audience may also be affected by culture, personal preference and other factors . In addition to the use of color, it is also necessary to present different emotional expressions through the expressive power of stories and audio-visual language.

The director of the movie is the gatekeeper of the artistic review of the movie. Therefore, the filmmaker needs to selectively use the appropriate color matching according to the needs of emotional expression to achieve the best communication effect.