Saturday, 14 August 2010

Color/Music/The Real

Here is a little snapshot of something that I am working on at the moment - it might look familiar - but that is because it is supposed to. If what you saw was a 'teaser' - which was 'Save the Lost' - what is coming would be a 'taster' - sort of.

I am not so much in two minds about this video's grade [as I was about the last video I did] - because I really wanted to seep the colors out of the picture and make it really bleak - so it almost has a black and white vibe except for primarily 2 other colors - blue and yellow - I guess Book of Eli inspired concept here - naturally blue and yellow just worked.

Stu Maschwitz from Pro Lost [] writes in many of his articles on the use of restricted color palettes in color correction. Its amazing that when you do this - especially on very specific pieces [short pieces] - to see the out-coming results. I guess opinions vary, but I've been analyzing so many films over the last little while and its SO clear that wardrobe artists, set designers, directors and color correctors all play a massive role in restricting the color so that it doesn't take away from the subject.

Think of a few films - I'll name a few and give what I think their primary colors are. Black is not considered a color - but i'll consider it here. Colors are in order of shadows, midtones, and highlights. Where midtones don't seem to have a specifc color i've left it out.

1. Matrix - Black, Green, Yellowish at times
2. Man on Fire - Teal, Blue, Yellow [very saturated]
3. Bourne Ultimatum - Blue, some yellow,
4. Spirit - Black, Red, White
5. Eagle Eye - Black/Blue, Yellow
6. Taking Pelham 123 - Green/Brown, Orange
7. The Informant - Brown, Yellow
8. Munich - Brown, Yellow
9. Dark Night - Black, Blue, Creamish
10. Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Black-Brown, Blue and Creamish

You might not agree with me here!

If you look at these movies again - see how much of the 'look' of the film exists in these restricted color palettes.

- Blockbuster films are often Blue/Teal in the shadows and Yellow/creamish in the highlights.
- And vintage films are often Reddish/Purplish/Brownish in the shadows and quite a strong yellow cast in the mid-tones and highlights.

Its amazing how uninspiring a raw untreated photo is at times, purely because often you have a million colors vying for your attention.

I don't know why I got onto the subject of color correction - excuse me. I think I just love color - the same way I love music. Their such similar subjects actually - They are emotion-inducers! We speak of them using the same words - 'bright', 'dark', 'warm', 'rich' 'clipping', 'distorting' - It has the ability to open people's ears and hearts and make them more receptive to the Message. As strange as it might sound - color, along music and all the other art forms is another tool in a believer's arsenal.

Color is OBVIOUSLY not our greatest weapon - as Gary Oldman says in the 'Book of Eli' when his minions question him saying 'but its just a book sir, why are you SO upset?' he then replies - 'It is not just a book, it is a WEAPON!' - The word of God - a double-edged sword - is the greatest weapon at our disposal!

I am not a particular fan of the 'nice' , 'the Christianese' things that so many people are used to and they are often ineffective if not detrimental to seeing people come to know Jesus, because they make people switch off immediately. There is a flip-side to this which I will discuss later on. But imagine having the most amazing words for a song - its so good it could literally blow people's minds. However, as soon as you open your mouth to sing - the sounds of cats dying in the trash canister - the sound of your voice - pulls a downer. And you wonder why people are not impacted, not stirred.

If it doesn't make them switch off - it might get them highly annoyed!

I love the Book of Eli because it was 'real' and 'dark' but communicated SO clearly the Hope that the Word of God brings to humanity - PROFOUND

I love the Passion of the Christ - because it showed the death of Jesus as it was - violent and brutal - think about that the next time you wonder about whether or not God loves you. The medical account of Jesus' death is possibly even more brutal - But it breaks me every time I read it..

I like GOOD stories - stories that grips my heart - often they are 'dark'/cinematic - but they always have hope.
We got stories like that to tell - stacks of them - every testimony essentially - 'for once I was dead but now I am alive.'
This is how I would like to tell stories.

'I like things dark - I like things cinematic' - Rob Chiu


I just read a very good article from the Wall Street Journal on the 'state of Christianity' amongst younger people in America
- apparently 70 percent of young people aged between 18-22 are leaving the church. They are fed up with the perfect little Christian huddles and tech- savvy presentations [the flip-side as mentioned above] that 'Evangelical-America' has grown accustomed to. Young people are looking for the 'real' - they don't like the mega-church mindset, but are looking for something way more PERSONAL.

Reference -

Its a very 'now' conversation that we are having as a Lifegroup [small group] and a conversation a group of young people who were dreaming together just prior to a conference called Urban Renewal in LA, had about the future of the church - a conversation I was privileged to be a part of. The question was thrown out - 'What is it that the world - largely the younger generation - is looking for? What have they become enamored with and what are they hungry for?

A simple, unified - 'the real' was the answer

The truth is you might have people come to church because the worship is great and the video stuff might be cool, or maybe even the preaching is spectacular. But people will stay because of relationship, more so than any other thing I reckon - People will stay when they fall in love with Jesus and when they are loved by God's people - Its something me and my wife are learning and growing in. Its something that I reckon is at the core of God's heart.

Let me here explain where I see my gift fit into the body of Christ - its not limited by my definition, but certainly is described - in part - by it.

When it comes to videos/photography - and for my wife painting/fashion/costume design - we use our gifts to stir within people [often the unsaved] questions that would lead them to think about what they call 'truth' and 'reality'. I think even for Christians this is an important question to ask yourself. I believe in Jesus, because I KNOW Him - not because my parents do or because I was brainwashed by a Christian community - but I have seen and tasted the goodness - the constant provision - the healing of his Mighty hand - and I have MANY testimonies.

If we can get the world asking the right questions and lead them to the right answer - Jesus - the word made flesh - then I feel like we're impacting the Kingdom of God. This is my preaching platform... for now!

Sorry I've rambled ... 'color', 'music', 'the real' .... random thoughts I know - but you are all clever... you'll get it.


PS - my little pretty one - you can come home now thanks!


  1. Great blog! I loved reading about how your work ties into your faith. I totally agree with you that our generation is in search for what is real. After all, we pay extra money for something organic or hand made. I also wanna write honest storytelling in TV and films. Its great to see I'm not alone. Keep on writing and sharing.

  2. man. loved this..

    i think color correcting is my favorite part of filming.. and it sounds like it's towards the top of your list too.

    I love your christian perspective on films.. and the color palettes you've noticed. Very cool man.

  3. Thank you for this inspiring post. I too am an audio/video guy who works in a church. I found your work on vimeo a couple weeks ago in the non-profit category and then came across the same peace (quiet for 400 years) on digitalcinemafoundry last night. The reason why I'm commenting isn't just to inform you of who I am or where I found your work, but wanted to let you know that your comments about why you do what you do really resonated with why I do what I do. "You are a Christian because you KNOW him." Very powerful statement. For me its about showing the lost the love that God has graced me with. I don't know if I could have put it so plainly without the words that I've read in your blog this morning.

    Thanks again,