It’s hard to imagine a time when movies were predominantly shot in black-and-white. The usage of color in film was considered, at one time, a luxury. It was expensive. Studios used to save color film for their epics and musicals. Nowadays, it’s safe to say we take it for granted. As Lewis Bond argues in his latest video essay, which can be viewed below, color can be an incredible tool used by filmmakers to help tell their story. Bond points to the very beginning of cinema when color used to be hand-drawn on the film print itself, citing the works of George Méliès, who used color to bring audiences to a fantastical world.
And for the following 100+ years, filmmakers from all over the world have tried to make color serve a specific purpose in their story. Lewis Bond’s 16-minute essay takes a very thorough look at the history of color in film. He talks about the difference between associate and transitional color, how color can be used to bring a visual balance to a film, as opposed to discordance. Above all else, he demonstrates how crucial color can be to influence a movie’s tone, how something as simple as the usage of different color lightsabers in “Star Wars” can tell people everything they need to know about the characters. Needless to say, i’s pretty fascinating stuff. Check it out.