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Chapter 7 Study Guide Color in Film Color holds a powerful position among the elements of a film structure.

A kind of universal language, it appeals equally to the illiterate and the sophisticated, to the child and the adult. Its function on the screen is both utilitarian and aesthetic. When made relevant to the pictures subject, color offers an immediate resonance that vivifies mood, delineates character, enhances meaning. When structured to further movement from sequence to sequence, color adds a new richness of film expression that immeasurably deepens the total work. Lewis Jacobs, Critic The added richness that color provides make awareness of color and its effects on the audience essential to perceptive film watching. Color has a psychological affect on humansReds stimulate appetite, passion, etc while blue lowers blood pressure, pulse and respiration rates. Color attracts and holds our attention; our eyes are more quickly attracted by color than by shape or form. Individual responses to color vary, for color is a purely human perception of a visual quality that is distinct from light and shade. Colorthe special quality of light reflected from a given surfaceis greatly influenced by subjective factors in the brain. Not only seen but felt emotionally and is subject to personal interpretation. Hue is a synonym for color. Value refers to the proportion of light or dark in a color. White is the lightest value visible to the human eye, and black is the darkest. Value is a comparative concept, for we generally compare a colored surface with the normal value of a colorthat is, the value at which we expect to find the color represented on a Color Wheel. Anything lighter than the normal value is a tint, anything darker is a shade. Pink is a tint of red, maroon is a shade. Saturation and intensity are other important concepts. In a discussion of color, these terms are interchangeable. A saturated color is a hue so unadulterated and strong that it is as pure as it can be. White and black are saturated to the maximumpure white

cant get any whiter, pure black cant get any blacker. A saturated red cant get any redder, and is fire-engine red. If it were made darker it would be a shade and if it were made lighter it would be a tint and would be lower in intensity. When a color is lowered in intensity, it is said to be a desaturated or muted color. There is a clear distinction between local color and atmospheric color. A green leaf pulled off a tree, placed on a white tabletop in a room with white walls and a white floor, and illuminated by a perfectly white light radiates local color. A leaf radiates atmospheric color when it is viewed on the tree on which it is growing. Recorded Color Experimented with by earliest filmmakers, but the technology to capture color within the camera wasnt available until 1920s. Technicolor was used first but was only two-color and didnt look very good. Caucasian skin ranged in color from pink to orange, and it was expensive (30% more). Color in the Modern Film Since the 1950s, the color film has increased greatly in subtlety and sophistication, and its potential seems somewhat unlimited. Effects of Color on the Viewer: -Color Attracts Attention. By using bright or saturated colors on the object of greatest interest and placing that object against contrasting background, the director can easily capture the viewers eye. -Colors Contribute to Three-Dimensionality. Colors such as red, orange, yellow and lavender are advancing colors. When given high intensity and dark value, they seem to advance, making objects appear larger and closer to the camera than they are. Receding colors tend not to stand out as much. -Colors Create an Impression or Feeling of Temperature. The warm colors are the colors that advance: red, orange, yellow and lavender. The cool colors are the colors that recede: blues, greens and beiges. Exceptions: Red with touch of blue is cooler than saturated red. Yellow with hint of green becomes cool green, etc.

-Colors Function Together in Different Ways. Certain combinations of color, or color schemes, produce predictable and consistent visual effects. matic harmony results from a scheme based on variations in the of one color. Complementary harmony results from the use posite each other on the color wheel, such as red and green. red, red-orange, and orange. Create a soft image with harmony results from the use of three colors or wheel. Color as a Transitional Device: Color has probably been used most often to signal important changes. This can be accomplished by using different color in conjunction with black and white or by switching to an obviously different color emphasis or style at the point of transition. B+W Kansas becomes Technicolor Oz. Expressionistic Use of Color: Expressionism is a dramatic or cinematic technique that attempts to present the inner reality of a character. In film, there is usually a distortion or exaggeration of normal perception to let the audience know that it is experiencing a characters innermost feelings. Surrealistic Use of Color: Surrealism is a dramatic or cinematic technique that uses fantastic imagery in an attempt to portray the workings of the subconscious. Surrealistic images have an oddly dreamlike or unreal quality. Leitmotifs in Color: Directors may employ colors associated with given characters for a kind of trademark effect. The clashing, garish colors of the Jokers costume in Batman help to reinforce his personality. As if his evil deeds and twisted mind arent villainous enough, he also offends us with his green hair, bright orange shirt, purple jacket and bright red lips. Comic Strip Color: Whereas Batman was based on a comic book with relatively sophisticated and subtle color treatment, Warren Beattys Dick Tracy was based on a Sunday-paper comic strip in which bold, primary colors prevail. Red, blue, yellow explode from screen. Monochrovalue and intensity of colors directly opAnalogous harmolittle harsh contrast. Triad

ny results from the use of colors adjacent to one another on the color wheel, such as equidistant from one another on the col-

Ironic Use of Color: Directors usually plan to use colors to match the mood of their film, but sometimes they choose color effects that go against the emotional tone of the film. Special Color Effects: A great many of the uses of color are so subtle that they create the desired effect but escape our conscious notice unless we are looking for them. In Deliverance, for example, director John Boorman and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond found that the colors of the bright green leaves were too cheerful, so they combined a black-and-white print with a color print to create the desired effect. Color Versus Black and White: Black and white has its own aesthetic. Its not any less than color but is an entirely separate medium with its own strengths, idiosyncrasies and the unique power to communicate. Black and white produces its strongest impact by emphasizing highlights and shadows. Films are mostly made in color to improve their chances of success for eventual sale to television. The inverse of what happened years ago is starting to happen: Commercials using black and white to stand out from the normal color. The apparently insatiable desire of the TV audience to see absolutely everything in color has drastically reduced the number of black and white films being produced. When one is released, it is praised for its daring.