The Magic of Color In Film

Hollywood logo, color in Hollywood films

Color in film. What was the last film you watched? Did you pay attention to the colors that were used in it? Was there any specific color that you saw regularly?

Well, colors are everywhere, and they bring life and meaning to everything. Almost everything around us has a color. But how about colors in films, movies, Tv shows, and series? What is different about them? In some movies, you can spot the repetitive usage of some colors more than the others. But why?? The short answer is: to convey a particular meaning or message. You may ask how?

color in film, different movie posters

Well, this is related to color psychology. Color psychology says that colors are capable of transferring feelings and meanings. In color psychology, each color relates to several emotions or concepts. Therefore, by knowing enough about the meanings of the colors, the movie directors can convey the target message more clearly.

So, with the help of color psychology, film directors can convey their message more effectively. and we are going to learn how they do that. 

stay tuned

Color In Film: Motion Picture 

Do you know what this is about?
Color motion picture film refers both to unexposed color photographic film in a format which is suitable for use in a motion picture camera and to finished motion picture film, ready for use in a projector, which bears images in color.
Here you can read more about motion picture.

Color In film: Sets the Mood And the Theme

In this industry, colors can help to set up the mood or the tone of a scene. Certain colors can provoke certain emotions. There are so many other colors with symbols which we will discuss in the following. 

color in film, color psychology
Here are a few examples of what each color means: 

Blue: blue tends to convey feelings related to isolation, passivity, calmness, and even melancholy.

Green: this color mostly shows nature, growth, corruption, ominous, immaturity, or danger. 

Purple: movie scenes that apply purple color often try to represent mystical, illusory, ominous, fantasy, ethereal, and eroticism. 

Red: red connotes danger, anger, passion, and warning. 

For example, red lightning in a movie tends to add a sense of danger or urgency, but can also enhance the feelings of passion and romance.

Pink: pink in films means innocence, beauty, sweetness, playfulness, empathy, and it’s a significant symbol of femininity.

Orang: filmmakers usually associate the orange color with youth, warmth, joy, exotic, happiness, friendliness, and sociability concepts.

And last but by no means least is the yellow color. 

Yellow: yellow color represents insecurity, idyllic, obsession, sickness, madness, and naiveness. 

If you’re interested about color psychology and would like to know more about it, you can read several related articles here

These are the basic concepts of each color. But in the movies, it’s not that simple. Even the change of the darkness and lightness of the colors can swap meanings. And the directors use this to manipulate the scenes. 

The Importance of Color In Film

There are actors, directors, film crews, and other members that create a film, but why is color so important? Yes, it’s true. A movie without actors and other crew is not a movie at all. Actors can make a film great and memorable. And also colors. Colors are there to help them to narrate the story better. It can help the director to tell their stories through pictures. They’re a key part of the storytelling process.

colorful scenes of movies set next to each other

Also, certain colors can make you remember a scene or even an entire film more clearly. So, now, it is obvious that colors play an essential role in movies.

Before we continue any further, what was the last movie you watched? Do you recall the colors that were mostly used in it? What was it about? How clearly do you remember it?!!

Here are a few mesmerizing examples of movies that have made the best use of colors:
color in film, lala land movie poster, Ryan and Emma dancing
  • The Red Shoes (1948)
  • The River (1951)
  • Gate of Hell (1953)
  • Lola Montes (1954)
  • Written on The Wind (1957) ..
  • Vertigo (1958)
  • Corpse Bride (2005)
  • Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
  • la la land  (2016)
Most colorful films
color in film, lion king 2019 movie poster, Mufasa and simba looking at each other

Below are astonishing examples of some of the most colorful movies in cinema:

  • Coraline (2009) PG | 100 min | Animation, Drama, Family.
  • Black Swan (2010) R | 108 min | Drama, Thriller. …
  • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) …
  • Trick ‘r Treat (2007) …
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939) …
  • The Lion King (1994) …
  • Jennifer’s Body (2009) …
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

How To Create Mood In a Film with Colors?

color in film, comparing jocker and batman moods and themes

As we said before, the mood of a scene can change based on its colors. The colors alter and create the tenor and the vibe of the scenery. The filmmaker uses color to bring harmony or tension into a part. It brings the center of attention to the key theme. During the storytelling progress, colors lead to psychological reactions. They channel your attention to the specific details. They also help set up the tone of the movie. In addition, colors introduce the traits of a character. Last but not least, colors exhibit changes or arcs in the story.

The Role of Lightning In Films

color in film, lightning tools for filming

Another indispensable factor which also associates with colors is the lighting of a film. The lighting system mirrors the eye to a specific actor, prop, or part of a scene. The lighting reflects the psychology of the characters. The amount, color, and harshness of the lights surrounding a character can be modified to produce melodious and sweet-toned emotions. Lighting arrangement defines and supports the main genre of the film.

The Black and White Movies

color in film, black and white movies. old movie actors staring at each other

In the old days, when the cameras were only able to film in black and white, the directors’ job was a bit harder. Those days, cameras could record in black and white. Therefore, before the invention of new types of cameras, which started the journey of colorful films, all the films were black and white. So, it was harder to set the mood or create a vibe with the help of colors. It was the actors’ job to convey the target message and affect the audience. But afterward, the technology progressed, and new forms and types of cameras were invented. They could capture pictures and film in color. Consequently, new types of movies came to cinemas, and the method of filmmaking entirely adapted in a new way.


All sorts of films, movies, and tv shows apply every factor that helps the audience catch the point better; colors included. colors alongside all the other components of films try to convey the message and point of a movie as well as possible. On the other hand, if the wrong colors are chosen, they will ruin all the efforts and it kills the mood. Thus, everything should be done wisely. 


Posted by

Im Negar, and I enjoy communicating in other languages, I also like colors. So I write in colors' language. Let's see how it looks like!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *