Join Eduardo Angel for an in-depth discussion in this video The magic of color, part of Video Post Production for Low-Budget Films.
- Color can have a very strong impact on your story. As visual storytellers, we might assign different color palettes to different characters, or have a color scheme evolve with the story. Some stories might even have a specific color palette to signify emotions, locations, or even the passing of time. Color can also become a symbol, like the now iconic red dress in Spielberg's otherwise black and white film, Schindler's List. We could use one color in the background, and a different one in the foreground.
Not only to separate our subjects, and create additional depth, but also to make a statement. The now crazy-popular show, House of Cards, is a great example of this technique. Pay attention and you will always see a blue foreground against a yellow background. In Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love, The beautiful dresses that Li-Zhen, the character, wears are often the only clue of the passing of time.
In that particular movie, very often we can only discern two seemingly identical scenes, and therefore two meetings between the characters, by the color of her dress. Steven Soderbergh had a very interesting approach on Traffic. To distinguish the stories on each side of the U.S. and Mexico border, he developed a color-coded system. The scenes taking place in Mexico are green, while the ones in the U.S. are blue. So in this case, color was used to distinguish locations, or specifically, countries.
We can see a completely different approach in Alejandro Iñárritu's Babel. In that movie, the color red is key. The plot has different stories by different characters in very different parts of the globe. But the color treatment is used to unify everything. Color can also be used to mimic a state of mind, being under the influence, or to represent a dream sequence, for example. Neal Burger's Limitless is a very good analogy. The story's about a failed writer who takes a pill that gives him superhuman mental abilities.
When the writer is on the pill, the palette is vibrant, slick, and he mostly leads the camera from a POV perspective. For our short film, we wanted a monochromatic and desaturated look for most of the story. When you watch it, you'll understand what I mean. High contrast was a high priority for us, with rich, juicy blacks being more important than clean whites. We were very inspired by film noir and detective movies from the early 50's, and we watched a lot of them to understand their lighting approaches.
As you can see, in photography and film, color can be used as an additional character to enhance our story.
Emmy-winning director Eduardo Angel knows filmmakers can be overwhelmed by the amount of post-production options. In this course, he takes you behind the scenes, sharing insights to help you maximize your post-production process while minimizing the impact to your budget. Eduardo focuses on the essential post-production steps and how to implement technical and creative solutions that help accomplish your vision. He shows you an entire post-production process, including planning, editing your film, working with a composer, adding audio, working with color, and distributing your project.
- Selecting an NLE (nonlinear editor)
- Preparing assets for editing
- Storing and backing up your files
- Evaluating scenes and takes to make selections
- Fine-tuning the edit
- Enhancing the story with audio
- Working with a composer
- Finishing the piece with color grading
- Distributing your project