Thursday, February 23, 2012

Skin Colours and Set Design

Skin tone matters in Set Design.

The colour of caucasian skin, or flesh tone, is one of the most challenging colours for the colourists to work with in post. I'm talking about the wall colour for the Set. Light terra-cotta, flesh tone, skin colour. These colours need to best be avoided. The trouble digital reproduction has with this colour is also apparent if you try to colour xerox anything that is pinky flesh tone. I don't know the science behind it, so I cannot explain the how and the why, but I've heard the complaints and seen the strange results many times.

Dark skin tone has a different issue. It is unfortunate when a Set is painted a rich espresso brown, because when an Actor of dark skin tone is playing, they can end up competing with the background scenery, which is devastating to a scene that would otherwise be well shot, needless to say, to the Actor aswell. Its a delicate balance. Sometimes lighting can make it a non-issue. A good DOP can work alot out with the focus too. But it is a limiting colour to use. I've seen complete re-paints over such an issue.

As a rule, I avoid both on any wall.

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