How Hollywood’s color correctors are playing with your emotions

We’ve talked about the color correction process in the past and how a once-cosmetic technique has become a fundamental part of the film production process. Total control of a film’s color range and palette allows filmmakers to tailor create visually resplendent works and sometimes to ignore other steps in the process. But the colors their choose are a separate consideration, one rooted one psychology as much as filmmaking.

A new article from Fast Company dives into how certain color schemes can trigger emotional responses in everything from blockbuster movies to political campaign commercials. Through interviews with colorists, the authors reveal how certain tones can change the mood of scenes for dramatic effect. For instance, greens rarely appear at night in life, so emphasizing those colors in film for an unsettling effect. Or in a case of genuine artistry in Transformers, alien worlds intentionally lack normal white and black light to create the illusion of an unknown space.

This is an interesting insight into why filmmakers employ color correction to suck us into their creations. There’s a dark side to these techniques, though: the article also mentions how political campaign ads will play with warm and cool colors to make opponent appear out of touch or distant. We put a lot of stock (no film joke intended) in post-production to sway us emotionally, and like any talent, that can be used for good or ill.

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