How color is used in film

Wes Anderson color use

by Donald B.

Wonders of the cinema can never be produced to be disliked by the eye. No cases of movie makers, who succeed in the business and don’t properly use colors, exist. Visual storytelling and visual aid is a great eye catcher, but what about color? Let me tell you about it. Sit back and I’ll show you how colors and visual palettes make wonders in the silver screen.

For that I will need the help of the master of visual storytelling and photography expert, Wes Anderson. One of the most regarded directors of all time, this master of the craft has not only made audiences worldwide gaze at the amazing capabilities of the camera, but also has created a whole new way of a character depth using colors.

First and foremost, colors are used for every and any sort of purpose in film, what I am listing below is a mere set of examples how this masterful art is expressed and why.
-Character depth.
-Emotional picture
-Transitional shots

The thing that will define your idea of colors is the thought of how it affects your feelings. For example, how would you feel to see something left intentionally black and white like American History X? It gives you a feeling of discomfort, unease, mysterious, investigative. How about when you see something with a vivid set of colors, like a saturated red and blue and yellow, as of Moonrise Kingdom? It feels like you put in summer time, or fireworks, overall fun and games. How about a washed out color? Cases such as Nightcrawler and Prisoners give you a sort of realism and scary feel of outcome.

As for Wes Anderson, briefly here is how he works with color. His movies in general, have a very well structure dialogue and story line, easy to understand, yet complex enough not to feel bored. But there is just something with his visual medium that just gives the eye and orgasm. He is a true master of matching the story, characters and what is about to happen to the most resembling color possible. This gives the audience a way to understand what is happening without it being said or shown from the actors or voice overs. He aids the audience to understand and commit to the story using his colors and amazing geometric positioning (That we can leave for another time).

So for character depth how does color help the feeling? Lets see how the master creates a visual mirror of a characters inner feelings and emotions. This is a shot from his movie “The Royal Tenenbaums”. Almost all of the movie is composed of warm colors and a very eye pleasing color distribution. In this shot he decided to go with a blue resembling the depression and suicidal nature of the character at hand.

Second would be emotional picture. This master of craft heavily relies on emotions. Different movie makers decide to go with dialogue, character development and overall production, such case is Tarantino, but Anderson, brings to every frame a sort of painting. He wants the audience to feel for the characters just as they are feeling at the moment. We want to know why they are doing what they are doing, but we cannot find out if the story doesn’t develop, but we can certainly know how they are feeling and why they are feeling it, because of his masterful color use and visual aid.

As a movie critic and a self proclaimed Cinephile, I have never seen a director better execute transition between shots. I would ramble on and on about how amazingly well his color visualization helps the audience understand there has been a time change, period passing, flashback, change in place, change of character in focus or transition in between action and serenity. there is just really a whole book to speak about this. But i would let you see for yourself.

To better understand, how this director executes his craft and how color is used masterfully in film, watch on or two of his movies. Anyone and everyone undoubtedly either has or will love his work.

Donald B.

Written by Donald B.