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Books on the subject Colour Theory In Film?


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#1 Elaine O Connor

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:17 PM

Hey,

I'm doing an essay on Colour Theory in Film and It's Cultural Meaning.

I'm finding it hard to find books about the subject. I'm thinking of using Requiem for a Dream, Schindler's List, American Beauty for some of the case studies because of their use of the colour red but once again i can't find anything written on them.

Anyone know of any books that might be worth a look?


Cheers.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:43 PM

Hey,

I'm doing an essay on Colour Theory in Film and It's Cultural Meaning.

I'm finding it hard to find books about the subject. I'm thinking of using Requiem for a Dream, Schindler's List, American Beauty for some of the case studies because of their use of the colour red but once again i can't find anything written on them.

Anyone know of any books that might be worth a look?


Cheers.


There's a whole book on the topic, "If It's Purple, Someone's Gonna Die":
http://www.amazon.co...-...2544&sr=8-1
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#3 Brian Rose

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 11:23 PM

I find books on painting to be quite relevant, since many of the greatest cinematographers themselves took were influenced by the great painters. Jack Cardiff got his start with Technicolor because of his knowledge of painting, and frequently referenced the style of the Dutch Renaissance, as well as the impressionists and post-impressionists (Van Gogh especially)
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#4 Dominic Case

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 08:39 PM

The book David recommends (it's by Patti Bellatoni) is essential reading for this subject. Nothing else comes close.

But if you can get hold of a copy of Chris Doyle's book called "R34G38B25" (it's the printer light he had his colour tests printed at!) you should. It's written around the work he did on Zhang Yimou's "Hero", in which colour is used as a fundamental indicator to separate several different viewpoints of the same narrative events. You can also link them to cultural significance in ancient Chinese culture, but that road is fraught with difficulty: does Red mean death, stop, life, royalty, war, or what?

And it is a beautiful book too.

There was a write-up of Hero in American Cinematographer (possibly a late 2004 issue, but David will know instantly), which gives you a taste of the way in which colour was used.
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 09:25 PM

The book David recommends (it's by Patti Bellatoni) is essential reading for this subject. Nothing else comes close.

But if you can get hold of a copy of Chris Doyle's book called "R34G38B25" (it's the printer light he had his colour tests printed at!) you should. It's written around the work he did on Zhang Yimou's "Hero", in which colour is used as a fundamental indicator to separate several different viewpoints of the same narrative events. You can also link them to cultural significance in ancient Chinese culture, but that road is fraught with difficulty: does Red mean death, stop, life, royalty, war, or what?

And it is a beautiful book too.

There was a write-up of Hero in American Cinematographer (possibly a late 2004 issue, but David will know instantly), which gives you a taste of the way in which colour was used.


Actually it was the September 2003 issue...

Yes, the Doyle book is lovely. The Storaro books, though really expensive, also go into his color theory, as you'd expect. There is a whole book in the series called "COLOR".
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 11:03 PM

I love the title! I remember Gordon Willis talking about the yellow he used in the Godfather in Visions of Light and how after that EVERYONE used yellow for period pieces for years after that. I always worry about "rules" though and color theory seem to come dangerously close to formula which becomes a rule.

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 29 November 2009 - 11:08 PM.

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#7 Alex Zustra

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:11 PM

You must use Argento's "Suspiria" in your paper! Crazy use of colors, and very easy to analyze once you have some basic knowledge.
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#8 Jesse Lee Cairnie

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 03:17 PM

i would go to the library and look for books on the psychology and physiology of color.. film books are great.. but you are getting into the human reaction to color.. and I would start at the source.. psychology books..

"cinematographers are visual psychologists" - Gordon Willis
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#9 Rob Vogt

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 04:25 PM

Also Johannes Itten's The Art of Color is a common reference for color theory.
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#10 Chris Millar

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 08:10 PM

You must use Argento's "Suspiria" in your paper! Crazy use of colors, and very easy to analyze once you have some basic knowledge.

The DVD for this has been sitting on the shelf at home for about 5weeks now.

Reckon you've pushed it into the 'watch next' zone - superseding season 2 of the late 80's (?) Clannad/Enya Robin Hood - ha ha ...
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#11 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 04:40 PM

Look at "Color and Meaning" in Eisenstein's "Film Sense".

There ought to be more about color theory scattered throughout "Film Sense" and "Film Form".
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#12 Mei Lewis

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:10 PM

There's a whole book on the topic, "If It's Purple, Someone's Gonna Die":
http://www.amazon.co...-...2544&sr=8-1


Thanks for the recommendation, I've ordered this from Amazon and should get it in the next few days :-)
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