PAUSE IT: What do you see? In the opening sequence of director Darragh Byrne’s Parked (2010), a man (Colm Meaney) sits alone on a wooden bench. In the background, his car has been vandalized. A desolate scene to be sure, the mood is made all the more bleak by Byrne’s and cinematographer John Conroy’s use of color. From these first opening shots we are immediately transported into a heightened reality quite different than our own. Note the yellow, almost sepia, color palette employed in this still. The mustard tinting lends the picture a sordid feeling as though something in this drab world has gone awry. Now, imagine the same shot but done with a more realistic, less exaggerated, use of color. Would the effect be nearly as unsettling? Displayed here is the power of color to help set a mood. Contrary to popular belief, the use of color in film has been around since the very first days of the cinema. A much more laborious process than our contemporary method, silent film directors seeking to add color would have to tint each frame of their creations by hand. Today, modern day directors have the benefit of advanced technologies that make the process of color manipulation (a.k.a. color grading) far simpler than in the silent era. Through the use of computers, color can be adjusted, perfected, and completely altered to a director’s liking.
Director: Darragh Byrne
Cinematography by: John Conroy
Cast: Colin Morgan, Colm Meaney, Milka Ahlroth
Available From Olive Films on DVD and Blu-ray.
March 10, 2017