Using Color Grading to Control The Emotions of Your Audience
When telling a story, it is important to control your viewers emotions to keep them interested and engaged. Targeting their moods and emotions is pivotal to retaining their attention. This is important because it is what makes the connection between the story and the audience. By using color grading for specific scenes the story will emphasize the many different moods or emotions present. This has been a tactic used since the beginning of color film. (Source)
Basic Color Moods
- Green – this color often promotes a vile or sick emotion.
- Blue – this color promotes controlled, calm-trustworthy emotions.
- Orange – this color promotes a warm and social emotion.
Color Moods in Film
Horror films have a blue color. Blue is used to give a more overcast feeling toward the film. This color allows the story teller to control the mood of the audience by eliciting a fearful response from them.
Catastrophic or apocalyptic films tend to have a grey wash. This color produces the feeling of loneliness or unpleasantness. Again, when this color is used the audience reacts immediately. Storytellers have the power to influence how they want their audience to respond.
Mixing Color Tones
Intense sci-fi dramas are often shot with a green filter. Audiences react to this hue with a disconnection from reality. For example, The Matrix uses a bright, orange filter to convey the dream reality that people experience while not in “The Matrix” reality, but uses a green filter when characters enter “The Matrix.” This change in filter separates that digital universe from reality and is an ingenious use of the color green in film because it subtly changes the viewers emotions.
In horror films, when it’s bright outside with natural color, one can assume nothing is going to happen. Once the color tone changes to blue, however, viewers can expect that something horrific will happen.
Mixing color tones throughout your project elicits your intended reaction from your audience. Capturing those emotions and making that connection will keep your audience intrigued and satisfied. People like to feel connected to what they are watching. If you use color grading in your films to target emotions and elicit a reaction from your viewers, your projects will become much more interesting.