Characteristic color use in different film genres

I-Ping Chen*, Fang Yi Wu, Chih Hsiang Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to develop a color analysis protocol for studying use of colors in films. The typical color use in films of romance, comedy, horror, sci-fi, and action genres was evaluated. A custom-made software was used for extracting contrast, saturation, brightness, red, green, yellow and blue values from all sampled frames. We found that among the chosen five film categories, patterns of coloring could be divided into two groups - one comprised romance and comedy, and the other horror, sci-fi, and action. Colors in romance and comedy tend to have higher contrast and brightness and are rich in red and yellow while in horror, sci-fi and action it is the reverse. Sci-fi films usually show the highest average standard deviation of brightness, as well as red, green, yellow, and blue among these five film categories. This indicates that colors of sci-fi films tend to vary greatly as the story progresses. The color analysis protocol developed in this study can be a valuable tool for exploring the aesthetic functions of colors in films.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-57
Number of pages19
JournalEmpirical Studies of the Arts
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


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