Emotion in Film Film affects everyone. From making one smile to bring them to tears. Film is able to make one feel all sorts of emotions, good or bad. Through sound and colour, film is able to influence one’s emotions. With colour, emotion takes a visual form, allowing the audience to see what they are meant to feel.
With sound and music, emotion is audible. These techniques are able to manipulate the audience’s emotions and they way they perceive what is happening on screen. Colour is one of the most important aspects of storytelling. Colour is used to make the audience react with different emotions relating to the colour they see on the screen. It is able to enhance a scene, creating a new layer of the story outside what words convey. Colour can be used to tell stories about characters, locations, or tones in a film. An example of the usage of colours with characters is in the film Baby Driver (2017) the association of colour is used in it’s characters.
Each character has a set colour palette when it comes to what they wear. The colours not only make the characters stand out and differentiates them from each other, but it also tells the audience about that that character. The colours tell the audience about they character that wears it, and makes the audience feel a certain way towards them. The main character, Baby, is always seen in black and white. The contrast in colours show Baby’s duality in the film. This was an intentional move by director Edgar Wright as it makes the characters stand out to the audience. Now, when telling a story there are two main techniques in which colour is used. Associative and transitional.
Association of colour, is using the same colour throughout a film to remind the audience of themes and ideas previously stated. Whenever the colour is seen its strikes the audience with thoughts of that theme, or reminds them of a previous scene. When it comes to transitional, if there is a shift in colour it represents a change within the film. That can mean something as simple as a location to a change in a character’s state of mind. If the colours become darker this can show that a darker theme. And, depending on the type of film, the change can happen suddenly or slowly as the film progresses. Through, when using colour it does not have to be one or the other. Many films take advantage of both techniques, combining both can the most effective.
When a colour is shown to represent a subject, altering the colour shade can show a change in the subject, but still saying that the idea remains. If the colour dulls it can mean that the feeling had faded, or if the colour intensifies it could mean that the feeling has become stronger. This is evident in the film Moonlight (2016). It colour codes the three different stages in Chiron’s life. As he is a child it is a bright blue, showing the peace and fulfillment in his life as he grows up. When he is a teen, the colours in the film shift to a deep purple, showcasing Chiron’s intimacy and cruelty he faces in that part of his life. By the end of the film when he has become an adult, the colours go a mixture of both blue and purple. Showing that peace has come back to his life, but the darker aspects with his teenage life has not faded.
Colour is important to a film, because it gives it life. Colour is able to tell a story past the words being heard. It is able to trigger emotions within the audience, making them feel what they see.
Sound is an aspect of film that one might not notice, but it is always there. The music behind film serves many different purposes, such as underlying a scene or conveying emotions. Sound is the base of emotion when it comes to film. When crafting certain scenes composers use similar instruments and techniques to match the emotion they are trying to strike. A sad scene will commonly use a slow and somber piano, while a chase scene will utilize a fast tempo.
Even certain sounds are able to evoke emotion in the audience. Nanette Nielsen, a researcher at the Department of Musicology stated that, “‘Even when we sit in a room all to ourselves, alone and listening, we still have our thoughts and our imagination. Music can work in powerful ways to evoke memories and ideas and thereby engage our thoughts and feelings. Music can quite simply contribute towards shaping the stories of our lives.
” When creating the music for the iconic shower scene in Psycho (1960), composer Bernard Herrmann, utilized ringing and alarm-like sounds. The sounds are unnerving to people. By using these sounds the scene becomes far more unsettling than it would have been with no sound. Film composer Aaron Copland said that there are five steps in making an effective score. The first being a convincing atmosphere to time and place, this means that one must match they instruments and rhythm to the setting. A film like Blade Runner (1982) uses techno, synth beats to emphasize it’s futuristic setting, while The Conjuring (2013) uses unsettling, eyre rhythms for it’s horror tone.
The next point Copland stated was, underlying psychological refinements. This means that music can tell the audience something that isn’t seen on screen. A film such as Jaws (1975) uses this point. The music tells the audience of the impending danger of the shark, without actually seeing the shark itself.
The next step is making a sense of continuity. Using similar or the same music to score different scenes makes the audience link the scenes together by the music they hear. Next, is creating a sense of finality. This occurs either at the end of the film or after a victory. The triumphant music links the audience with what they are seeing. The last point is to have music serve as a background filler. Making the only purpose of the music to fill silence. Copland said that this is the hardest score to do because it should stay unnoticed by the audience.
The music behind film can give the audience a further understanding of what is happening in a scene. Music is able to get into the audience’s head, evoking emotions related to what they hear.When watching a film it is easy for one to fall into the emotion held within it. Through colour and sound, emotion is not only felt, but seen and heard.
Colour works to visualize emotions. Colour tells stories about the film without verbalizing it. The effects of colour can be more impactful and anything else on the screen. With sound, emotions can be manipulated by the filmmakers. Music is able enhance the emotions being portrayed on screen. Film understand how to evoke emotion within its audience.
Using these two techniques, film is able to