Ever since the earliest days of hand-tinted black-and-white movies, filmmakers have been using hues to express emotion, evoke a mood, or set a scene’s tone. The color palette of a shot can subtly change the way we experience a scene, adding a sense of tension or excitement, as well as making a character stand out or blend in to the background.
In “Color Theory,” Vimeo user Kat Smith has created a color-coded supercut of shots from popular movies, revealing the different ways filmmakers put color to use. Each segment of the video is oriented around a specific color, grouping films of disparate genres not by theme, but by shared color palette.
Although Smith presents the supercut without explanation or analysis, certain patterns emerge if you watch her video closely. Many of the red shots center on violence or romance, while pink seems to most frequently appear in comedic moments. Other colors, meanwhile, appear to run the gamut of emotions and themes. Orange, for instance, includes shots of Steve Buscemi chatting in Ghost World (2001), the Oompa Loompas dancing in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), and Gollum grasping desperately at the One Ring in The Return of the King (2003), which are hard to connect on any thematic grounds.
Set to a remix of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Color Theory” is, according to Smith, “a super colorful supercut … that gives you a taste of the rainbow in feature film form.” Check it out above.
Banner Image Credit: Kat Smith, Vimeo