I came across a Tumblr blog called ‘Movies In Color’, a website featuring stills from films and their corresponding colour palettes. This tool is particularly useful in understanding how colours complement each other and can work together to invoke mood and meaning into film. Taking a brief glance through the site it has instantly got me thinking about colour and appreciation towards the considerations made by cinematographers.
This shot from American Hustle (2013) uses a very monochromatic colour palette. Colour theory suggests that brown encourages a strong need for security and sense of belonging. This matches the moment in the film where the characters find one another and feel safe and unified together. The whole spectrum in this shot is very warm and inviting, the earthly tones provide safety and comfort. It is worth noting only shades of brown appear, not reaching white which would make the shot appear colder.
This shot from Trainspotting (1996) occurs just after all the characters have taken a hit. The green and yellow dominant in the shot are adjacent/analogous colours, they neighbour each other on the colour wheel. Analogous colours creates proper colour harmony, however it lacks contrast and vibrance when compared to complementary colour schemes. In terms of this shot it creates a very washed look, personally there is something about this palette that is slightly uncomfortable and sickly, thus reflecting the narrative situation. Thinking of the film on a broader colour scale red, yellow and green and recurring washes and lights to represent various stages of heroin addiction. In this instance it shows that the characters have descended back into drug use by the use of green lights.
This website is an extremely useful tool and really spurs thoughts on colour representation and how everything in the shot is considered and employed to invoke particular meaning. I know I will be visiting this website regularly to continuing an active approach into colour use in film.