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Film & Video Fundamentals: Understanding Color Temperature

Danny Greer

Use color deliberately to reinforce the overall mood or feeling of your film or video. In this video tutorial you’ll learn the basics of color temperature, including lighting sources and white balance.

Check out this quick study on the ‘science and psychology of color temperature by John Hess for FilmmakerIQ.com.  As part of a recent FilmmakerIQ course on color temperature, this video provides a quick look at how the temperature can set the tone for a scene or reinforce a project’s themes.  Contrasting Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” (as an example of a hot film), with the chilly cool look of the Cohen Brothers’ “Fargo” you get a quick look at how both directors use color temperature to successfully reinforce the mood of both films.


You’ll get a little background on the history of color temperature research, as well as the science behind why certain light gives off certain colors (daylight vs tungsten light for instance).  Finally, you’ll see how to apply this info practically, by applying it to video and film production.  He covers common on-set lighting issues including white balance, mixing color temperatures and modifying artificial light temperature.

Color Temperature

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Thanks for sharing this informative tutorial, John!