Hand-painted film still of woman in motion, dancing in a long, flowing skirt; the skirt is tinted pink and her hair is yellow.

Color in Motion: Chromatic Explorations of Cinema


From hand-tinted silent films to digital film production, color has always played an essential role in creating cinematic landscapes and narratives. Color in Motion explores the power of color as a filmmaking tool, the science and technologies behind it, and its physical and psychological impact on audiences. The story of color is told in high-energy film clips, photographs, posters, production cels, color charts, equipment, and iconic costumes and props such as a costume worn by Kim Novak in Vertigo. Color in Motion also reveals the many contributions women made to the history of film colors—laboriously hand-coloring and stenciling, working in Disney’s ink and paint department, and serving as the generally white “leader ladies” to whose skin tones film colors were calibrated—raising questions about the role of race and gender in film color development. Immersive spaces and interactive installations include a hands-on “color arcade” that invites visitors to move their bodies to activate colors, allowing them to see, create, and experience color in motion.

Hand painted still from "Serpentine Dance: Annabelle," 1896. Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles


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