The Effects of Color in Videography

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Color may be something you start to learn about as a child but it is a complicated subject if you ask an artist, graphic designer, or videographer. When creating a video or film, attention to color can make the difference between a high-end result and a mediocre result. There are theories and discussions galore around the idea of color. Why? It is one of those tricks of the trade that artists can use to invoke a certain feeling, attention, or consistency in their work.

The color wheel is a basic useful tool to make color decisions and it is crucial to have some understanding of why. Need a quick review?

  • Your primary colors are red, blue, and yellow.
  • Secondary colors, those made from primary colors mixing, are green, purple, and orange.
  • And tertiary colors are those made from mixing a primary color with a secondary color.

In order to highlight a character, for example, a videographer can choose to subtly put the character in one color and the background in that color’s compliment (the color across from it on the color wheel, like orange and blue). This sets that character forward, visually. Or, if a scene needs to invoke a certain feeling, like harshness, the videographer may choose blues and grays to make the scene colder and less inviting. Saturation also makes a difference. If a scene is less saturated, it may feel depressed where as a slightly over saturated scene may feel over excited.

Some of this work can be done pre-production with clothing choices and lighting. Some of these choices can be made in post-production with color correcting to create complimentary ideas between scenes or characters or topics. The options with color are pretty endless but the essential idea here is that not all video productions are created equally. Attention to detail is essential. Knowing the effects of technical details like color in videography can make a big difference in the quality and depth of your video.

See this post for more in depth examples from film:

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