color and emotions

We’ve previously pointed out that movie posters have a tendency to use the colors blue and orange, because of how they work together as complimentary colors. However, it’s not just in marketing that movies use certain color schemes in order to catch our attention and influence our minds.

A new video essay takes a look at how color can manipulate our emotions in cinema (or really life in general), and even lays out which colors are used to stir up or convey certain emotions and qualities. This is one of those explanations where if you weren’t privy to this information before, you’ll begin to notice it all the time in not just the movies you watch, but all media around you.

Check out the focus on color and emotions after the jump!

Here’s How Filmmakers Manipulate Our Emotions Using Color from The Verge:

If you really want to get a good breakdown of which colors tie to which emotions, skip to about the 59 second mark. There you’ll see a whole diagram showing how red is linked to rage, green is linked to terror and admiration depending on the tone, and orange is tied to vigilance. That’s only at their most vibrant visualizations, and as the colors dim, what they convey changes slightly.

As the video points out, filmmakers really make certain colors pop with a process in post-production called color grading, where the levels of colors are changed to make greens or blues pop more than reds or oranges, depending on what’s happening in the scene or what the director wants the audience to see or feel. This is something that has become infinitely easier since digital filmmaking became the norm over the past 15 years or so, which is why we get so much more stylized visuals today than in decades past, and thus have our emotions toyed with more visually, albeit in a subtle way.

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