Who is responsible for a film color palette

Film Studies Seminar

Colors in animation and digital production have received particularly little attention in research up to now.

In the research project Autonomous film colors in animation and digital production these colors, which have so far been neglected, are the focus with the aim of an intercultural comparison between European, American and Asian - especially Japanese and South Korean - production. For decades, animated films have been an important test field for new color film technologies, both in the artistic production of the avant-garde and in advertising and entertainment films for the masses. Since the turn of the 21st century, digital methods of coloring have replaced analogue techniques and, through their fundamentally arbitrary color assignment using binary coding, have produced significantly different color aesthetics.

Methodologically, the project follows on from the computer-aided analysis of film colors with tools from the Digital Humanities, which are currently being developed in the ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors. In the context of Autonomous film colors in animation and digital production These approaches are adapted to the requirements of the question by machine learning and significantly expanded. The process allows the analysis, evaluation and visualization of large audio-visual corpora with advanced deep learning tools.

Another methodological and theoretical pillar is the technobolic approach, which - based on the in-depth analysis of technical sources - examines the connection between technical processes and aesthetic production, expanded to include the cultural context that is so important for intercultural comparison. It takes account of the insight that technologies never arise in a vacuum, but are shaped a priori by epistemic models and cultural norms and objectives. With the intercultural perspective outlined in the project application, which particularly takes Japanese and other Asian productions into account, an additional limitation of previous research can be overcome, namely the almost exclusively Western view of film production.

The result is two dissertations:

For animation with the analysis of at least 120 color animated films - mainly from the period 1920 to 1955 - from Central and Eastern Europe, Japan and the USA; for digital production with the analysis of at least 60 digitally produced or post-produced films from the period 2001 to 2018 from Asia, Europe and the USA.

New, previously unknown sources will be developed through archive research and, together with the research results, continuously incorporated into the Timeline of Historical Film Colors, which will then be available to the wider research community - film historians, technical historians, art scholars, archivists, film restorers and students.