It seems that there is no such per­son who does not have a pos­i­tive atti­tude towards the uni­verse cre­at­ed by JK Rowl­ing. The mil­len­ni­al gen­er­a­tion did grow up with Hog­warts stu­dents from year to year, when new books came out, and then films. The lat­ter have already been includ­ed dozens of times in var­i­ous selec­tions from “Top New Year’s Movies” to “Best Movie Saga”. On Jan­u­ary 1 this year, the Har­ry Pot­ter uni­verse once again drew atten­tion to itself with a spe­cial episode “20 years lat­er”.

In this text, we will also return to Hog­warts, only from the very begin­ning of the sto­ry. What col­or tech­niques did the film­mak­ers use in the frame, and how did the Har­ry Pot­ter movie change towards the end?

WARNING: The text is full of spoil­ers, if by some mir­a­cle you haven’t seen these films yet, it’s bet­ter to watch them first.


This is the bright­est, light­est and most col­or­ful of all films. Here he is, the unfor­tu­nate boy from Priv­et Street, who at one point becomes a wiz­ard and enters a new world! It’s worth start­ing with a detail that is not obvi­ous in terms of col­or: pay atten­tion to the world around you even before Har­ry gets on the Hog­warts Express. There are no bright col­ors in the frame, the world is about the way it real­ly is. You would get about the same if you took a pic­ture in a sim­i­lar loca­tion in the same light­ing con­di­tions. This is an impor­tant detail, because fur­ther “just the world around” will get com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent shades.

And here it is, Hog­warts! The world of wiz­ards in the first film plays with all col­ors. The direc­tor often resorts to bright warm shades. Indeed, a shin­ing world opens up before Har­ry and his friends, there are no dan­gers yet, and only the first course is in the text­books. The first film paints us an image of the mag­i­cal world bright and warm. Gold­en lights in the Great Hall, warm Hog­warts scenery, mag­i­cal sweets in bright wrap­pers.

Already here you can see one of the obvi­ous tricks that the direc­tors use in the GP more than once: the clas­sic scheme on a com­bi­na­tion of beige-orange and azure-blue shades. Cold and warm. It looks con­fi­dent in the frame, but the direc­tor is not the first to turn to this scheme.


The sec­ond part of the sto­ry, with­out exag­ger­a­tion, is a trib­ute to Slytherin, one of the fac­ul­ties of Hog­warts. Despite the fact that the main char­ac­ters study in the fiery red Gryffind­or, many of the events of the sec­ond part affect the snake depart­ment. Hence the direc­tor’s styl­is­tic deci­sion: there real­ly is a lot of green in the film. Even if you pay atten­tion to the scenes dur­ing day­light hours, the dif­fer­ence with the first part will be notice­able. Green under­tones define the pic­ture.

If you pay atten­tion to col­or com­bi­na­tions, it is notice­able that the clas­sic scheme of azure + beige has under­gone changes in the sec­ond part: cold azure has been replaced by acid green. More­over, here and there you can see the col­or of the details with which the film team enhances the col­or impres­sion. Green suit, green vel­vet robe, green walls. Not with­out con­trast­ing details that bal­ance the emer­ald hue: a red enve­lope, a red inscrip­tion on the wall, a red plumage of a phoenix.

A dot­ted East­er egg is the col­or bal­ance of the beige suit and pur­ple fab­ric in Lock­ons’ office.


It’s worth mak­ing a remark: it’s not just about the devel­op­ment of the plot – start­ing with the Pris­on­er of Azk­a­ban, the fran­chise has changed the direc­tor. Con­se­quent­ly, the work with col­or also changes. Remem­ber the shots of the “ordi­nary world”? They were replaced by cer­tain tones, depend­ing on one or anoth­er part.

The Pris­on­er of Azk­a­ban is con­sid­ered to be one of the dark­est parts of the Pot­ter series. The heroes grow up, the tri­als on their way become hard­er. The third part of the film is dom­i­nat­ed by scenes in the dark. Hence the blue-azure tones as the main ones in the film.

Details in var­i­ous scenes fur­ther empha­size the gloom of this part: note the blue col­or of the sleep­ing bags, the azure hue of the crys­tal ball, and Dum­b­le­dore’s pas­tel blue pale robe. The cos­tume design­er did a great job. So, Ron’s red sweater har­mo­nizes per­fect­ly with the blue pic­ture, and Hermione’s pink jack­et sets off the green­ish-blue set­ting.

In a num­ber of scenes, you can see the com­bi­na­tion of cold azure with warm beige, already famil­iar from the first parts. A sep­a­rate col­or match is the scene where the heroes are hid­ing behind huge orange pump­kins: note that the green there is a rich, nat­ur­al col­or, with­out the cold blue that is inher­ent in the entire film.


The hard­er the test, the more mut­ed the shades. In many scenes, the col­ors were slight­ly turned back, mak­ing them fad­ed. In the film, the com­bi­na­tion of beige and azure, already clas­sic for HP films, con­tin­ues to flick­er, and the main col­or con­fi­dent­ly rests on pale blue-green tones.

To the basic tech­niques, you can add a com­bi­na­tion of rich blue and orange used sev­er­al times instead of the usu­al beige and azure. As well as unex­pect­ed bright orange scenes from the point of view of the over­all fad­ed col­or­ing. Maybe this was an allu­sion to the gob­let of fire?


The cold shade con­tin­ues to accom­pa­ny the audi­ence, the clouds are thick­en­ing, and the blue is more and more frosty. The Order of the Phoenix is ​​the sec­ond dark­est film in the fran­chise, accord­ing to pop­u­lar opin­ion. In some scenes, the green­ish-yel­low hue aims for a more acidic one, and the new char­ac­ter in the form of Umbridge with pink ruf­fles bal­ances this acidic and har­mo­nious­ly fits in.

Much more inter­est­ing in this part are the col­or details — the accents that the direc­tor and the team place in dif­fer­ent scenes. Yel­low shirts sur­round­ed by cold blue, a red booth with an azure exte­ri­or, blue light from the open­ing in the com­mon room, a yel­low stat­ue, and even the pullovers of friends of the main tri­ad of col­ors that com­ple­ment each oth­er (green + red + blue).

The scene in court deserves spe­cial atten­tion with a stun­ning inter­ac­tion of blue and yel­low, which are com­ple­ment­ed by the red robes of the jury. Walk­ing across the stage from dif­fer­ent angles, the direc­tor man­aged to impress!


Again we meet a com­bi­na­tion of beige and azure, again fad­ed, mut­ed col­ors. In places they go com­plete­ly into dark­ness, and in one of the scenes they are com­plete­ly black and white. The Quid­ditch field is no longer sur­round­ed by a bright green lawn, the large hall no longer beck­ons with the bril­liance of bright can­dles: the heroes have matured and every­thing around is no longer just a fairy tale, now these are seri­ous deci­sions and tough actions.

Curi­ous­ly, even in seem­ing­ly warm scenes that have to bal­ance cold tones, the direc­tor leaves the col­or mut­ed. Only at the very end, unex­pect­ed­ly, after the death of one of the bright char­ac­ters, warm col­ors return to the pic­ture! Albus Dum­b­le­dore is dead, Har­ry is unlike­ly to return to Hog­warts next year, and in the fol­low­ing parts there will be no sto­ry at all inside the school walls.


The turquoise-green tones have not gone any­where, the com­bi­na­tion of cold and warm has not gone any­where, but the Death­ly Hal­lows has become a sep­a­rate chap­ter in terms of col­or in the sto­ry. Log­i­cal­ly, the world should go com­plete­ly into dark­ness, evil is on the thresh­old and the out­come of the bat­tle is not clear.

So it hap­pens in sep­a­rate, com­plete­ly dark shots: this is a log­i­cal con­tin­u­a­tion of what was start­ed in the Half-Blood Prince: dark times in all their glo­ry. How­ev­er, the direc­tor unex­pect­ed­ly moves the rook and returns the bright­ness in a num­ber of scenes of the film. This is no longer the fad­ed rays of the sun, which could be found in “Pris­on­er of Azk­a­ban” or “Gob­let of Fire”, but warm sun­light.

The pro­duc­tion team is also pin­point­ing new col­or com­bi­na­tions for the fran­chise. Look at the bal­ance of a pur­ple cur­tain and a green lawn, or the crim­son tables sur­round­ed by turquoise walls. The film ends with a dis­tinct­ly dark, almost black image of Volde­mort, leav­ing view­ers with an open-end­ed end­ing to this bat­tle.


The sto­ry is com­ing to an end. If you put the first and last Har­ry Pot­ter films side by side, you can see how dif­fer­ent they are: a won­der­ful mag­i­cal world in the for­mat of a fam­i­ly fairy tale at the begin­ning and a com­plete­ly grown-up, gloomy dra­ma at the end.

The direc­tor brings the log­i­cal col­or­ing of the film to the lim­it: gloom, dark­ness, cold twi­light. Even the clas­sic turquoise + beige looks washed out here.

Pale green and pale blue shades remain the main col­or motif. And warm, sun­ny scenes leave a new chap­ter of the sto­ry, remain­ing in the first part of the final episode.

Curi­ous is one of the last loca­tions when Har­ry meets Dum­b­le­dore. The usu­al green­ish tint remains there, but this is a light, milky white scene. Like an act of rebirth (almost like Taran­ti­no). Hav­ing turned the col­ors white for a cou­ple of min­utes, the direc­tor returns us to the usu­al gloomy nar­ra­tive. Only now, if you look close­ly, you can see that the col­ors are start­ing to grad­u­al­ly return to the screen. Even the cold turquoise becomes brighter than it was in pre­vi­ous scenes. Dawn is com­ing in every way.

Hav­ing won the bat­tle for Hog­warts, the direc­tor brings a sun­ny morn­ing into the frame with a com­bi­na­tion of green and beige. Only in this scene does not leave the visu­al con­vic­tion that there is more warm beige than cold turquoise.


От Yara

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