Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Color Composition (Movie Barcodes)

I recently ran across this fascinating blog called movie barcode through the wealth of information known as kottke.org. What the creator of movie barcode does (who is selling prints, by the way) is take all the various colors throughout a film and shove them all into a series of vertical lines, creating a colored barcode image.

That was, of course, a repeat of the obvious. I actually have no idea who does movie barcode, nor do I know anything about how they do it. But what I find interesting is what each of these bar codes says about the movies that get decoded (broken down into fascinating post-modern collages).

Another statement of the obvious: different movies have different tones. By tones I mean that one movie may be called dark because its content is centered around less than happy ideas or ideals. Others may be called bright or light because of their slightly more happy tone. Either way, every film has its own spot on the emotional spectrum.

This -- if the movie is any good -- is reflected in not just the soundtrack, (think Trent Reznor in The Social Network), the acting (think Jack Nicholson in The Shining), and the direction (Paul Thomas Anderson in There Will Be Blood) but also in the colors that flood and dilate our pupils based on their lightness or darkness. The colors should match the tone.

It's clear when you look at these great films below, that the filmmakers worked very carefully throughout their production to make sure the visual tone of the film matched the emotional tone of the narrative, thereby creating a very original, stylized, and harmonious film. Something very rare these days.

Enter The Void. Gaspar Noe is known for creating experiences rather than films. This is no exception. The dark story is clearly represented, but so aren't the hints of neon exposure that are also present in his film Irreversible. Most of his technical aspects -- his sound design and color schemes -- are psychologically based to make us feel uncomfortable. The contrast between the dark and the neon accomplishes such. Or, at least, makes feel lost and drunk in Manhattan (still disorienting).

The Lion King. A story that spans the entire spectrum of triumph to defeat is represented quite diversely on the color spectrum.

Fight Club. Need I say more? A film about the oppression of our primal urges for violence and destruction isn't going to be as bright and shiny as The Lion King. The abundance of night scenes, as well as the darkness of the soundtrack, acting, characters, and -- therefor -- color scheme are represented here.

1 comment:

hmescon said...

Really interesting. Love that Fight Club one.