Friday, October 7, 2011

More Colour Commentary


My blog post from Sept. 24th entitled Whatever Happened To Colour? was noticed and picked up by the folks over at Boing Boing which led to a lot of comments both for and against my stance on the issue of desaturation run rampant on today's movie screens (not to mention in most TV shows now too.) Well, that Boing Boing post was in turn noticed by the folks at CBC News, and producer Nigel Hunt then contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in being interviewed on the subject.

I agreed to it, so Nigel brought cameraman Doug and on-screen personality, Deana Sumanac to my home to conduct the interview. Though they were here for about an hour, only about 10 seconds' worth of what I said actually made it in to the segment, but I know that's par for the course with TV news and the piece was finally broadcast on tonight's broadcast of CBC News' The National. Anyway, if you're curious enough to take a look, don't blink or you'll miss me!

Thanks again to CBC's Nigel Hunt for putting it together and showing interest in my views on the issue. I'm also very happy to have had the pleasure of meeting lovely Deana Sumanac, shown in the photo above.

13 comments:

Audran said...

I really liked your previous post about color. The trend you are talking about is mostly in hollywood, because asian movies are still very well colored and composed. Hong kong movie or Korean movie, like the good the bad the weird... great show btw. Whatever happened to colors? it moved east :)

Martin Fagan said...

Congratulations on the news report. I think that you've aired the frustrations of many current film goers.
Once, I was fascinated by the techniques of de-saturation or shifting the colour hue of the picture. I thought it added an appropriate look to the particular film. My first awareness of this technique was Saving Private Ryan. The de-saturation drew me into the film more and gave the film a better sense of time and place. Ironically, it's heavy use of artificial colour shifting made the film more real and less like a "movie"
Today, the technique seems to be over-used in order to give the film a sense of "class". Even TV shows are now adopting this look. Just because current digital hardware makes this technique easier, doesn't make it necessary.
What was once a technique used to separate it from the crowd, is now becoming a cliche that results in a visually dull and less dramatic image.
Maybe, as a reaction colour slowly being drained from our screens, I have become a bigger fan of the "over saturated" look of some animated films. I particularly like the look of the Pixar films. I know Pixar has it's critics of it's heavily saturated palette. But these days, it's such a breath of fresh air. Imagine watching Finding Nemo if Pixar had been going through it's "Blue Period"?
Wouldn't it be strange if TV channels in the future were forced to show "colourised" versions of current films to make them more acceptable to their audiences?

Thanks for highlighing this current annoying trend in both Film and TV. Of course, everything is cyclical and once the dust has settled and film makers have grown tired of their new toy, we may start to see the technique being used as a storytelling device once again.

Frauenfelder said...

Only 10 seconds? You should have your own hour long prime time variety show, in full-blown color!

Pete Emslie said...

Ah, if only variety shows would come back to primetime TV. But that's another rant for another time. :)

Brubaker said...

Great interview. I agree with you. I love how you drew Deana on camera.

They should have you over often as a regular guest.

Ricardo Cantoral said...

One thing I forgot to mention in old colour post was when I saw the making of Casino Royale 2006 special. A regular camcorder was used to show the making of one particualar beach scene when the Bond girl, Solange, was riding a horse on a beach. What a contrast to the ugly cinematography used in the film ! It's the kind of stuff you see on CSI.

Pete Emslie said...

I agree, Ricardo. I actually saw "Casino Royale" for the first time just several months ago on DVD. For all of the critical raves I recall at the time the film came out, I couldn't help but think how much better it would have been with rich colour like the Sean Connery films always had. I'll stick with "Goldfinger" instead, thanks just the same, Hollywood...

LETS TALK CARTOONS said...

The problem is that all the great background designers have all died off with no one learning from the greats and the studios not bothering to have permanent staff to learn the craft of production design like in the old days, this color thing has been bothering me lately and its funny you think the same way,im an artist too and id rather watch old 60s movies with the big slashes of red nearly every where to draw your eyes to areas the designer intented, not like the color blind clueless "designers" now

Brian Mitchell said...

Frankly, I don't think the general public even realizes that the films are de-saturized. It's great that you acknowledged the fact and apparantly it stuck a nerve. Now, if somehow the news here in the states picks up the story so that Hollywood becomes aware of it, maybe something positive will happen. This reminds me of years back when moving the camera constantly all over the place became the norm for a lot of television shows!

Amir Avni said...

Pete!

Thanks for making the world better one step at a time!

Pete Emslie said...

Brian and Amir - I know my little blog alone is not going to change the way things work in Hollywood, but if these posts at least spark some discussion on the subject, then maybe it could lead to more widespread awareness of the problem. I believe in the power of word of mouth, and I'm hoping that others will post similar sentiments on their own blogs regarding this lack of colour in contemporary movies.
Speaking for myself, I'm restricting my moviegoing to a great degree these days, as I really don't want to see my admission money supporting this trend that I so abhor. Perhaps if others would similarly boycott these ugly grey-blue products from Hollywood, then maybe declining box office would have the desired effect of getting these tasteless studio execs and directors to start producing films of beauty again.
Heck, currently I see I have 757 "Followers" of this blog. If you agree with this complaint, then follow it up with similar rants on your own blogs! Having just watched the brilliantly satirical 1976 film, Network on DVD the other night, I feel like Howard Beale exhorting you all to open up your windows and yell "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!!" :)

Amir Avni said...

Good pointers Pete!
If this was a satire like "Network", it might have been a laugh to send people from Faye Dunaway's "Mao Tse-Tung Hour" to change the current blue-grey pallette.
As far as our world goes, you're spot on, in this age, we have access to new media, and can spread the word for the good.

Martin Juneau said...

I just seen the report with you and i can't agree more. The desaturation of colours is a unfortunate trend who needs to be changed. I never realised how this dark colours trends goes on since last year. That's don't look natural to me. I share your frustration since no one in the society wants to see natural colours anymore.