‘Am I talking about the lack of good scripts? Do I speak of . . . the endless sequels and television retreads? No, I am talking about something much more dangerous, much deadlier to the health of cinema.
I speak of course, of THE COLOR GRADING VIRUS THAT IS TEAL & ORANGE!!!’
-Todd Miro, “Teal and Orange – Hollywood, Please Stop the Madness”, Into the Abyss, March 14 2010 (emphasis in original, site last accessed October 28 2011)
Miro has a very interesting discussion about the use of teal and orange color grading schemes in recent movies. Teal is the compliment to skin tones, so it makes the skin tones really pop & stand out. And the cold dark blue-tinged look is often used as a way to make things look “gritty” which in turn is supposed to be “realistic” — but real life has a lot more color than that and it just winds up making all the movies look dingy & the same. Which is sad because there used to be a lot of movies that were very colorful.
‘In fact, nothing ever has looked like that because it’s physically impossible. You see, in order to get flesh tones to look that warm and orangey, the entire image would look warm and orangey – like golden hour, just before sunset. And in order to get teals to look that blue and tealey, the entire image would look cold and blue – like at night. Never in real-life shall the two meet’
Over the last few years I’ve been reading about photography, which in turn often comes down to high the light is & how light affects the way something looks. And after all that reading and playing around with cameras, I have to agree with Miro. Really warm orangey skin tones and really cool blue surroundings usually don’t come from the same light source.
Originally found mention of this on Ace of Spades (can’t seem to find the specific post now), who pointed to Boing Boing‘s post, which in turn mentioned posts on the topic by The Cartoon Cave and Into the Abyss.
Worst part is now I’ll be looking at stuff like this whenever I watch movies. Already got spoiled for listening to background music and noticing camera angles courtesy of a couple friends of mine in college who were music and film majors respectively.