May 29, 2014 by Drinks at The Dal
Colors are an important part of visual storytelling. Not only do they provide visual appeal, they are used to enhance the mood or to indicate the shifting emotions of a scene, and colors can also be used to distinguish one storyline from another. With our guest writer/filmmaker Melanie Killingsworth, we discuss how colors were used in Season 4 of Lost Girl to shape characters’ storylines as well as highlight the season’s theme of memory. Read more of Melanie’s writing about television and film, including Lost Girl, at mehlsbells. (And thank you again to Melanie for providing the screencaps for this post.)
Where Do the Colors of an Episode Come From?
- Wardrobe, Sets, Locations, Props, etc. within scenes
- Post-production color saturation, etc.
- It’s a highly intentional process (though some of it is also reactionary: trying to fix things that didn’t go quite right in production, especially in outside scenes.)
- Certain directors prefer certain palettes. Still, TV is a writer’s medium. Most of the color palettes for the sets are already set. For example, the clubhouse is always washed in yellow.
Color Constants in the Season
- Una Mens — very black and red/orange
- Yellow associated with memory
- Desaturated and brown tones for flashbacks
Prominent Colors in Episodes
- This episode is absolutely gorgeous, and most of that is done with colored lights, but also shadows.
- When Kenzi and the boys are dancing, their shadows in the spotlight are stark and dark.
- The blue and pink set lights are worked right into the ballroom setting, and play against the dance floor and Vex’ sequins.
“Sleeping Beauty School”
- This is a very yellow palette throughout, in large part because it deals so much with memory. The train set is very yellow-y in particular.
- The blue tones with pink accents are in Lauren/Crystal’s storyline, but there’s not much of that to cut the yellow tones.
- It’s all dark and dim and muddled.
- Flashbacks are very washed out, grayish
“Turn to Stone”
- This episode really mixes it up, with the sets really having different vibes and a lot of accent colors (Massimo’s potions, Lauren’s folder, the flaring fire house safeguards).
“Let The Dark Times Roll”
- None of the scenes have a red cast to them. Almost all of the scenes have a red accent pop (Kenzi’s pants, the Morrigan’s chair, Dyson’s punching bag, Trick’s candles, the sushi table, even Kenzi’s hair during the danceoff).
- A fun splash of color, or foreboding the Una Mens?
“Of All The Gin Joints”
- “Of All the Gin Joints” did black/white reversal in everyone’s costuming, but contrasted it sharply with the vivid background of reds, purples, etc. It works for an episode about a very flamboyant performer.
- Something of note is how ‘normal’ the colors of Lauren’s apartment are. Her house stands out from many of the more Fae-dominated spaces in the show, and always has. It’s a very human space.
“La Fae Époque”
- Very much red-and-black in the Dyson storyline
- More neutral and dim in Kenzi’s bedroom
- Yellow in flashbacks/fugue state
- Most of the episode happens in the clubhouse, which always has a yellow tinge to it though it’s maybe a bit yellower than usual
- HOW FUN IS THAT CANDY FACTORY!?
- Very forest-y, greens and browns, but Bo’s blue jacket pops
- Trick appears in his regal clothes, and they’re quite red, as we discover just how much history he manipulated with his blood
- The A and B stories get a lot of contrast, and gives us some visually interesting distractions off-train.
- Check how both sterile and watery the office setting is, and how Kenzi and Dyson are the most colorful things in it.
“End of a Line”
- The revenant camp is washed out, but Laveau, Acacia’s jacket, and plenty of blood, all add spots of color.
- There are other red highlights again in the Dal, Kenzi’s dress, etc.
- Outdoor scenes are green and fairly bright, but many indoor scenes are even darker than usual – fitting for an episode in which a character is being mourned?
- Lauren seducing The Morrigan: grey bedding, Lauren’s grey lingerie, mostly black & white palette in the set, Morrigan in a (mostly) black dress beforehand, Lauren in a white shirt afterward
- SO DARK. SO SO DARK.
Colors & Characters
- It seems like she’s worn more blue this season than we’ve ever seen her wear before. (Blue corset shirt in “Let the Dark Times Roll,” blue & black dress in “Groundhog Fae” & blue leather jacket in “Destiny’s Child”) Are they playing up the “eyes both brown and blue” thing?
- Also, a lot of black with silver accents (in general throughout the season, but for Bo in particular)
- Similarly, Trick wore bright red a couple times this season (“La Fae Époque,” “Groundhog Fae” & “Destiny’s Child”), which is unusual for him.
- Are they possibly playing up the fact he’s becoming more ‘known’ as the Blood King, maybe even making a play towards becoming more than a lowly barkeep?
- Her usual red pants (they re-use a lot of her wardrobe but mix and match to make it somewhat less noticeable), but also a red power suit, red boots and some other bright choices against otherwise brown/black or washed-out backgrounds (like the office setting).
- Her hair changes quite a bit, too, in style and color, perhaps suggesting how in flux she is.
- A lot of black/white reversal with Lauren / cast, including at the Dal and in scenes with Evony
- Lauren is also in gray and The Morrigan is in black in “Of All the Gin Joints” where we see Lauren put in motion her plan to de-Fae her.
- Dyson, on the other hand, got a little more color this season, and it looks damn good on him.
- Even though he’s being used by Bo, he’s much less mopey, too, and there’s also the idea we see him much more outside of his usual official cop role than we did especially in seasons 1 and 2.
- Wore of course the leather jackets, of which Melanie wants all, and she does like red on occasion
- We love him in purple!
- Hale wears a lot of brown, neutral colors but he often gets fun pops of color in his ensembles, like the plaid trousers in “Of All the Gin Joints,” the purple shirt and tie in “Sleeping Beauty School,” and the blue velvet jacket in “End of a Line.”
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