Dive into ‘the colors of motion’

Colour schemes, despite being crucial in film making, are often not very visible to an audience. They belong to the background soup of images and sounds that highlight characters and dialogues. However, Charlie Clark has brought colours into the limelight with the project “The Colors of Motion”. For the first time, you can see how the mood and tone of each movie depends largely on their palettes. And those colours are just painstakingly beautiful. Charlie has taken data visualisation to another level with this project and rightfully so it’s been selected as The Gold Winner of The Lovie Awards for the best art website this year. We had an opportunity to talk to Charlie recently and learned about his love for this phenomenon named ‘colour’.

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Charlie Clark. I’m a designer and developer based in Brooklyn, NY. I’m currently working as a developer at B-Reel, a production agency in New York.

How did the project “The Colors of Motion” come about?

I’ve always been fascinated by colors, and I love creating data visualizations that explore the way we use it (The Colors of Twitter). I came up with the idea for “The Colors of Motion” a few years ago, but I didn’t have the skills to build it. So I shelved the idea until earlier this year, when I felt I would be able to build something cool.

We saw your detailed explanation of how you made the project, but could you describe it more generally for us non-techies?

Basically, I use a command line tool called ffmpeg to run through a movie file and spit out .jpgs of every frame. When this process finishes, I have a folder full of sequential .jpgs that represent the entire movie. I then run a script that goes through each frame, and determines the average color of the frame, and spits everything out as a list of colors. The site itself reads this color data, and matches it to the appropriate frames.

Amazing! Do you have any future plans for “The Colors of Motion”?

I recently started producing prints for sale, which I’m really happy with. I also want to keep processing movies and adding them to the site, and once I have enough I’d love to add some functionality to filter through the movies so that they could be explored by genre, year, etc.

Thanks for the chat!

Scroll down to see the amazing colour palettes of the movies Charlie has processed. You can suggest your favourite movies to him by sending an email to: contact@charlieclarkdesign.com

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