Colour grading and cinema

I used to be quite the film buff, and while I rarely go to the cinema these days, I do try to catch as many films on DVD (and, er, by other means) as I possibly can.

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that a lot of films – Hollywood films in particular – seem to have quite a similar look, certainly in terms of visual tone if not cinematography. Today I found out that not only was I not imagining this (hurrah for double negatives) but it’s a ‘problem’ that seems to be spreading in Tinseltown these days.

I happened across this fascinating article about colour grading and the new ‘in’ look of teal and orange, having followed a link from a forum post about the upcoming English-language remake of terrific Nordic vampire film Let The Right One In. The early promo shots for Let Me In – as it is to be known – show the same approach has been used here, as you can see from the picture above.

I’m a firm believer that films should have their own visual signature, and indeed when I think of some of my favourite films I can instantly recall the way they look as much as memorable lines and scenes. It would be a great shame if Hollywood cinema edged further towards homogeneity simply through adopting a colour scheme designed to make the picture “pop”. There’s certainly something ironic about an idea used to make something stand out being likely to prevent a film from doing so.

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