The Wizard Of Oz : Visual Design Aspects Of Color And Lighting Essay

The Wizard Of Oz : Visual Design Aspects Of Color And Lighting Essay

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What makes a film interesting? What makes it stand out from other films? What makes it unique? The visual design aspects of color and lighting in a film play a major role in giving the film meaning and depth. A lot of thought goes into what colors and lighting should be used that will help convey a mood and theme central to the film. You wouldn’t see dark colors and lighting used in a children cartoon, instead you see bright color and bright lighting. And vice versa; most horror films don’t focus on bright colors and bright lighting. In The Wizard of Oz (Dir. Victor Fleming, 1939) , the director uses bright colors and lighting to portray the moods of happiness, joy and innocence in Dorothy’s life. In contrast, dark colors and lighting that go hand in hand with the evil parts of Oz portray the moods of mystery and suspense. All of these elements merge together to reiterate the theme of good versus evil throughout the film.

Red ruby slippers. Green emerald city. Yellow brick road. These are just of the few iconic colors that bring to life The Wizard of Oz film. But before color even gets introduced, we see Dorothy in a monotone world of black and white with a sepia toned film. Set in the middle of Kansas, the viewer gets a sense of boredom and bareness. It seems as if the only people in that whole state are Dorothy, her immediate family and the farmhands! However, after her house gets lifted up and redeposited, she opens the door to a world of Technicolor. Your eyes are shocked as the screen is filled with various bright colors. The colors of Munchkin Land symbolize a vibrant, surreal, dreamlike adventure. It creates moods of happiness and security for the viewer as we are transported back to a world we know; color. In his articl...


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...erent moods. This technique uses three-sources of light to create a realistic feel for Kansas. The view is given the sense of natural light that promotes the setting as lifeless and barren. The mood here doesn’t seem happy or suspenseful, but somewhere in the middle. Another scene with three-point lighting is when we first meet the scare-crow. There is light coming from various angles, and the mood of happiness is kept as he signs and dances around the cornfield.

No matter what scene, the visual design aspects of color and lighting were thought out strategically to enhance the mood and theme. What if the witch was pink? And Dorothy’s dress was grey? The significance of the colors and lighting and the moods and theme they create would make so sense. What if high-key lighting was used throughout the film? We wouldn’t be scared of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

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