Movie Magic

The last time you got out of watching a movie, did you feel the change in affect from inside the auditorium to the outside? More specifically, did you notice the difference in the colors your eyes perceived looking at the screen in that darkened auditorium vs. in the outside/real world? This is because it was different. As a lot of you know, movies are usually ‘color graded’, which means the image colors are altered to serve the filmmaker’s purpose.






There is a lot going on in movies that produce an affect – the atmosphere the movie theater, the sound. I’m focusing on something that’s done to enhance the affect of the visuals.Colors can even be useful in story telling. Movies are often color-graded by genre. So the last time you saw everything be really dark in a horror movie, or a fantasy film where every red is a richer red, and yellow is a richer yellow, it wasn’t by accident. Lighting and color is used to set the mood and convey messages on a subliminal level. That’s the reason pictures have that irrational and mesmerizing hold that Harvood was talking about. A study at the University of British Columbia confirms this, and has found that red is the most effective at enhancing our attention to detail, while blue is best at boosting our ability to think creatively. This is done in digital images, as well as analog with the help of photo-chemicals. And it’s not just limited to films.

I find this kind of kind of manipulation is unethical in advertisements because while they are trying to promote the strengths of a product, they’re making their product seem a lot more desirable than it actually is. For example, See this picture of a Playstation 4 advertisement and of the real product. When I say ‘real’, keep in mind that it’s still a picture and is subject to a photo’s biases, but I give it more credibility because it’s not color graded and is posted by a user.

ps4 ad.jpgps4shots-019-640x426.jpg


Ron Eglash even admits that although she finds Marshall McLuhan’s ‘Medium is the Message’ too deterministic, she’ll make an exception in this case. He says that to command reality  to do your bidding is sexy, “and the cliché that “sex sells” has been augmented by the sexiness of simulacra” (58). In movies this manipulation seems more acceptable because they don’t ordinarily make promises of accuracy.

This idea can be used to think about the role colors play in all kinds of media today. We saw how colors are manipulated in visual media like movies and advertisements for a purpose, but this is done even on online and other media.  Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media sites which are driven by content are blue while sites like Seamless, Targets, and Macy’s which sell products have a red theme. It raises bigger questions about where color manipulation is used and where it potentially can be used and among other things, I’m interested to explore that.


~ by stilokani on February 22, 2016.

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