Film School: Colour Film vs Dark Skin

Film School: Colour Film vs Dark Skin

Institutionalised racism in even the very technology of film.

Estelle Caswell looks back at the original benchmark for early colour photography, and reveals the ways in which “the default towards lighter skin in technology still lingers” (via Vox):

Insecure director of photography Ava Berkofsky offers insights and tips about how to light darker skin tones (via Mic):

Moonlight cinematographer James Laxton and colorist Alex Bickel talk through, in wonderful detail, how they created the film’s striking look (via IndieWire).

Speaking of Moonlight, director Barry Jenkins has spoken at length about this, saying (assuming “emotion” is a mis-transcription of “emulsion”), “The history of camera [emulsion], 35mm [emulsion], is racist. It just is” (taken from this interview at Believer):

Director Ava Duvernay speaks to Q-Tip about her work with cinematographer Bradford Young lighting the black body and how black characters look in dark rooms (via Tribeca):

If Beyoncé says so, who are we to argue?

Try It Yourself

During production, videographer Kofi Yeboah shares techniques for lighting and exposing for Darker Skin Tones (specifically in Sony S-Log)…

… and then in post-production, Dr Nkeng Stephens offers this tutorial for grading darker skin tones (specifically in DaVinci Resolve):

Content creator KyleKallgrenBHH discusses what needs to be considered when bi-colour lighting for digital video:

Further Viewing

A collection of short videos on Hollywood’s shameful – and ongoing – history with race:

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