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  • Writer's pictureAnson

'A Road to A Village' #2 - The Earth Tone

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Here, we continue the discussion of the film's colour palette. #GABFilmColourSeries

As the film name suggests, the concept of road plays an important part in the story leading the family to different outcomes, metaphorically and also literally saying. We are here to discuss the foundation of road and how it serves as a starting point of creating the story.


Can you tell any differences between these two frames?

Yes, the road/ground's hue and saturation have quite a different style, one is more muted and brown in contrast to the golden/vibrant tone on the right. But why is there a difference here instead of keeping everything consistent?

According to the director Nabin Subba, the road is a symbol that implies the space leading to a higher level of development, it can be geographically and socially saying. In the film, the rural family attempted to connect themselves to the modern world, which can be potentially struggling and uneasy. So the earth tone is essential in storytelling to keep things neutral and 'unmotivated'. Meanwhile the characters are heading to their destination, it transforms into a vibrant colour hue to indicate their sign of progress.

This narrative intention will not always be the sole motivation of this creative decision, the colour palette is also reasonably developed based on the elements in the scene, as in not imposing the earth tone in a golden hour moment for example, which may deteriorate the visual aesthetics.

Sometimes the grade is drawn by the scene element instead of being motivated and overridden by the narrative intent.

As a colourist, my approach in designing the colour palette is to study and immerse myself into the story's world, and discover any treatment that can potentially affect the perception from audiences. In fact, these can be very subtle, especially when working on a feature film that lasts for over 100 minutes, audiences can hardly remember what you have been creating from one scene to another. I would actually say colouring is an art of subtleness, and colourists are the wizards behind these quiet magics. We should be proud of ourselves for setting up a difference that people can hardly notice/perceive when it does the job perfectly.


Beyond the earth tone, there are scenes that are more golden in representing the vibe/energy level.

This is a relatively short piece to establish the meaning of the basic earth tone, and we will discuss the conflicts in the next post and how colours are imposed in shaping the tension.

Ciao! :)

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