STRANGER COLOURS

 

Everything felt grey and dull on that day. I was alone and away from home in a place where the food was punishingly hot and the work demon was clenching me with its cold hands.  Totally enervated I crashed on my white bed that evening. It was so soft and cushiony that I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I lowered the AC temperature to combat the April month heat and decided to watch this series called “Stranger things”. “To-daing” the red Netflix logo popped.  The moment I saw that incandescent title glowing in Neon red panning across the screen to the nostalgia inducing synth tune I felt like a kid who just discovered a hidden cookie jar.

Of the many things I adore about stranger things the one thing that registered evergreen in my now – memories is the visually pleasing colour grading. Watching each scene lit with the bright warm colours coupled with the retro music was like having a warm sunbath on a breezy afternoon.

The pre intro scene shows a scientist running towards the elevator holding onto his dear life. As he stares at the flickering hallway fearfully we hear an ominous growl of an eerie creature and then the guy is snatched up and eaten horrifyingly. The colour grade in this scene is chosen to be a menacing greenish. There is a green tint in every object.

The scene then shifts to four kids playing Dungeons and dragons unbeknownst to the threat elsewhere. The colour grading here is warm and woody somewhere-in-the reddish yellow zone.

Here’s a cool fact now – If you pay attention to the scenes involving the good guys there is a little to almost zero hint of green. This detail is consistent in the props too from the clothes to the objects in the scene. Meanwhile the alleys of the upside down radiates in gloomy green. Green is being used to induce fear. Hmmm Now where have we seen this green grading in eerie scenes before? Those freaky asylum scenes in Sethu movie. Ring a bell?

And the good? The colour grade of scenes involving the good guys is approximately near the red region of the colour wheel.   Hmmm again a call back to the human tendency to prefer red for goodness – almost all superheroes, gods, santa claus. Oh and did you know that the series was shot on RED Dragon epic camera. Coincidences eh?

There is an aura around all the lights, the street lights, lamps, the flashlights in stranger things almost like the light sabres from star wars. An aura that is soothing to watch and inculcating the idea that the retro periods were magical.

And the sound of the lights flickering
Even the sound of the flickering of the lights is pleasing

So all red is good? Hmm seems not so.  There is a duality in red, like it can be both happiness and anguish at the same time.. Other colours do change based on the mood but no other colour seems to have the duality on this extreme level.. One hand it’s an innocent happy red rose and at the same time it’s murderous red blood rage. The same rage that is in eleven’s eyes when she hauls a speeding van over or when she breaks a bully’s bone.. But this unapologetic use of her powers is not without repercussions. She suffers the same fate of pain as her opponents every time she uses her powers when red blood oozes out of her nose.

pain
Pain and Blood Rage

 

Van gogh said this about his painting The Night Café,

“I sought to express with red and green the terrible human passions. The hall is blood red and pale yellow, with a green billiard table in the center, and four lamps of lemon yellow, with rays of orange and green. Everywhere it is a battle and antithesis of the most different reds and greens”

 

776px-Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_076
A melage of red and blue

 

Sources :

  1. http://indiecolorgrading.com/stranger-things-color/

 

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