How To Use Colour Theory In Fashion Films...

Hello, fellow creatives and film enthusiasts. I’m Joe Gainsborough, a filmmaker and director of photography, and I’m thrilled to welcome you to today’s discussion.


Today, we’re delving into the captivating world of filmmaking through the lens of my latest project—a mesmerising film shot in the enchanting city of Vienna, starring the exceptionally talented Lea Pires. Throughout our conversation, we’ll explore key elements that brought this project to life, from the intricacies of colour theory to the dynamic possibilities of gimbal camera movements. Additionally, we’ll delve into the technical aspects of shooting with full-frame cameras and the art of performance direction. So, join me as we embark on a journey behind the scenes of this cinematic endeavour, where creativity, innovation, and passion converge to create magic on screen.



One of the most exhilarating aspects of creating this fashion film was playing with colour palettes to evoke emotions and make a bold statement. Lea, the talented individual featured in this film, stumbled upon a truly remarkable location for our shoot. The space was adorned with protruding block shapes and enveloped in dark grey tones, which for me is a dream brutalistic canvas. Knowing the potential of our location, I envisioned a bold and iconic image by dressing our model in striking red attire. I knew that against the backdrop of dark greys, the vivid red would pop and create an iconic visual contrast. Embracing this concept, we meticulously crafted an outfit that exuded confidence and allure, perfectly complementing the boldness of the vision. Every detail was thoughtfully curated to ensure that the final image would be nothing short of iconic.


How can we as filmmakers use colour theory in our work to create more interesting images?



By incorporating colour theory into our filmmaking process, we can leverage the psychological effects of different colours to create images that resonate with viewers on a deeper level.


Colour Combinations

Exploring various aspects of colour theory allows us to experiment with colour combinations, contrasts, and symbolism to convey specific emotions or themes within our work.


Colour Contrast

Whether it’s using complementary colours to enhance visual impact or contrasting hues to create dynamic tension, understanding colour theory enables us to craft visually compelling images that captivate our audience.


Colour Symbolism

Cultural associations and symbolism related to colours offer additional layers of meaning and depth to our storytelling, allowing us to communicate nuanced themes and messages through visual language.


Colour Manipulation

Through the art of colour grading, filmmakers can further refine and manipulate the colour palette of their footage, fine-tuning the mood and atmosphere of each scene to achieve the desired effect.


Lighting Colour

Additionally, considering the colour temperature of light sources and how they interact with the environment adds another dimension to our creative choices, allowing us to enhance the mood and realism of our visuals.


What are some of the ways that colours can effect emotions?


Red: Often associated with passion, energy, and intensity, red can evoke feelings of excitement, desire, and urgency. It can also symbolise danger or aggression, depending on the context.


Blue: Blue is commonly linked to feelings of calmness, serenity, and stability. It can evoke a sense of peace, tranquility, and trust. However, darker shades of blue may convey feelings of sadness or melancholy.


Yellow: Bright and vibrant, yellow is often associated with positivity, happiness, and optimism. It can evoke feelings of warmth, cheerfulness, and energy. However, excessive use of yellow may cause feelings of agitation or anxiety in some individuals.


Green: Symbolising growth, renewal, and harmony, green is often associated with nature and the environment. It can evoke feelings of balance, tranquility, and freshness. Darker shades of green may also convey feelings of jealousy or greed.


Purple: Regal and mysterious, purple is often associated with luxury, royalty, and spirituality. It can evoke feelings of creativity, imagination, and ambition. However, too much purple may appear artificial or eccentric.


Orange: Combining the energy of red and the happiness of yellow, orange is associated with enthusiasm, creativity, and vitality. It can evoke feelings of warmth, excitement, and encouragement. However, it may also appear overwhelming if used excessively.


Black: Symbolising power, sophistication, and mystery, black is often associated with elegance and formality. It can evoke feelings of strength, authority, and introspection. However, it may also convey feelings of fear or sadness in certain contexts.


White: Representing purity, simplicity, and innocence, white is often associated with cleanliness and perfection. It can evoke feelings of clarity, peace, and serenity. However, it may also appear sterile or cold if used excessively.


These are just a few examples of how different colours can influence emotions and perceptions. The psychological impact of colour can vary depending on cultural associations, personal experiences, and individual preferences.

As filmmakers, understanding the emotional effects of colour can help us create more impactful and resonant visual narratives.



Tracking shots are all about synchronising movement with our model, creating a seamless dance between camera and subject. With the DJI RS3 Pro,I was able to move in perfect harmony, capturing every step and every gesture with precision.

The DJI RS3 Pro is a state-of-the-art handheld gimbal designed for professional filmmakers. It provides exceptional stability, allowing smooth and steady footage even in dynamic shooting environments.


With intelligent tracking capabilities, versatile shooting modes, and compatibility with various camera setups, it offers filmmakers the flexibility and creative freedom to capture stunning visuals with ease and precision.


So, when it comes to parallax movements, I leveraged the dynamic capabilities of the DJI RS3 Pro to add depth and dimension to my shots.

By subtly shifting the camera’s perspective relative to the subject, I created a sense of movement and immersion that truly elevated the visual storytelling.

Now, let’s break down what exactly a parallax movement is:

Parallax movement refers to the apparent shift in position of objects in a scene relative to the background as the camera moves.

This effect occurs due to the different distances between the camera, subject, and background, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality in the footage.

In practical terms, parallax movements can be achieved by moving the camera horizontally, vertically, or diagonally while keeping the subject in focus.

This technique is commonly used to add visual interest to static shots, create a sense of movement in the frame, or emphasise the spatial relationships between elements in the scene.


For example, imagine filming a subject walking down a bustling city street. By subtly panning the camera as they move, you can create a sense of depth and immersion, drawing the viewer into the scene and enhancing the overall cinematic experience.

Overall, parallax movements are a powerful tool in the filmmaker’s arsenal, allowing for creative exploration of space, movement, and perspective.

When used effectively, they can transform ordinary shots into captivating visual narratives that leave a lasting impression on the audience.


So what are some of the ways that we can use a camera gimbal to create cinematic imagery?


Tracking Shots:

Keep the camera moving smoothly alongside the subject to maintain visual engagement.

Use tracking shots to follow characters or objects as they move through the scene, creating a sense of fluidity and continuity.

Experiment with different speeds and angles to evoke different emotions and perspectives.


Parallax Movements:

Create depth and dimension in the frame by moving the camera relative to the subject and background.

Use parallax movements to emphasise spatial relationships between elements in the scene.

Add visual interest to static shots by introducing subtle camera movements that draw the viewer’s eye and enhance immersion.


Push-Ins and Pull-Outs:

Create a sense of intimacy or intensity by pushing the camera in towards the subject.

Use push-ins to draw the viewer’s attention to specific details or emotions within the frame.

Conversely, pull the camera out to create distance or reveal more of the surrounding environment.

Pull-outs can be used to establish context, transition between scenes, or create a sense of scale and grandeur.


Rolling Barrel Shots:

Achieve dynamic rotational movement by rolling the gimbal in a barrel motion.

This technique adds a cinematic flair to your shots, creating a sense of drama and excitement.

Experiment with different speeds and angles to enhance the visual impact and storytelling potential of your footage.



In the world of cinema, the manipulation of depth of field holds significant sway over storytelling, engaging audiences on both emotional and visual levels.

By using the full-frame camera alongside a wide-open aperture, I harnessed the capacity to sculpt a narrative through selective focus.

This technique allowed for a softening of background elements while highlighting the central character with striking clarity, drawing viewers deeper into the story.


Utilising a 35mm lens, I opted for a compressed framing, resulting in a shallow depth of field and a direct perspective, evoking a sense of composed elegance reminiscent of still photography.

In contrast, the switch to a 24mm lens introduced a wider, slightly distorted perspective, intensifying the viewer’s proximity to the subject and enhancing the perception of dynamic movement.

This strategic lens interplay, combined with deliberate aperture adjustments, not only adds depth and dimension to the visual narrative but also elicits an immersive experience for the audience, heightening their emotional connection to the unfolding story.



As for the performance direction, my vision was to encapsulate the ominous and brutalistic essence of the space itself.

With the location characterised by its harsh, angular design and protruding concrete blocks, I sought to evoke a sense of raw intensity in the performance.

Guiding Lea through the scene, I imparted specific directions, urging her to adopt a robotic gait, imbued with an androgynous edge, walking with purpose and determination.

The stark environment provided an unexpected opportunity—a makeshift catwalk of sorts—where we transformed the space into our own unique stage, elevating Lea’s performance to a captivating display of strength and defiance amidst the unforgiving architecture.



I delved into the creative post production process using Davinci Resolve, a robust platform renowned for its editing and colour grading capabilities.

Beginning with the footage captured from the ZV-E1 Camera, I harnessed the power of Phantom LUTs to infuse the visuals with a rich and satisfying colour palette right from the start.

Building upon this foundation, I meticulously fine-tuned the grade, adding contrast and intensifying the colours until achieving the desired aesthetic balance.

To further enhance the cinematic quality, I implemented radial blur effects along the edges of the frame, imparting an ethereal quality while drawing focus squarely onto the central character.

Additionally, integrating a subtle touch of film grain lent the footage a dynamic texture, breathing life into the imagery and immersing viewers in the visual narrative.


Through meticulous attention to detail and creative experimentation, the post-production process transformed raw footage into a captivating cinematic experience, ready to captivate audiences with its depth and resonance.