You can use colour to change the mood of your shot. You can choose the colours of things to include in the shot – like backgrounds, furniture and costumes – and you can also change the colour balance of the light.

It’s usually best to get the colour as close to natural as possible when you’re filming and to make adjustments to the colour balance and saturation when you edit it. Pro filmmakers use special grading software to do this precisely.

Colour balance
Orangey or warm colour is useful for helping to show things like autumn/fall, sunset, home, comfort, or the past. Bluish or cool colour can make things seem cold, technological, uncomfortable, or threatening.

This means how intense the colour is. You can use vivid, bright colours to show happiness, liveliness or wackiness, and weak or washed-out colours to show poverty, sadness or tiredness.

Brown or sepia makes people think of the past, so you can use it to show that part of your film is a flashback.

Black and white can show that something’s in the past, or in a character’s imagination or memory.

Tip: if you are working with really difficult light, you can instantly improve your film by converting it to black and white. Problems with colour balance, and graininess caused by underexposure, will disappear – and as a bonus your film will look cool and retro.