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Video transcript

now that you've learned about the roles that lights can play and even how they can be used to say something about a character let's back up and take a look at the overall process for lighting a movie at Pixar you may be familiar with scripts but did you know we have color scripts I'm standing here in front of the color script for Coco a color script is a snapshot of the whole movie with a frame painted from each scene through the color script you get an idea for how each story moment will be lit and its overall color and value structure the color script also shows how each scene will look in the context of other scenes it shows the progression of light and color throughout the movie similar to how a written script allows everyone to stay in sync on how the story points will develop throughout a film a color script does this for the lighting to better understand how these color scripts are created and used in the filmmaking process I brought Danielle and Bill to tell us more so we do these things called color scripts for the movie and they are this really wonderful tool that we use where we can basically visually map out the whole film before we're in the thick of it and so we have a sense of what the story is it's continually changing but we're sort of mapping out visually what's happening and so the way to do that is you think about the sort of emotional arc of the film and we on Coco there was actually a graph of the emotional beats in the film so that you knew the low points and the high points key places in the movie where you know you have to kind of hit highs and lows and maybe some important scenes that maybe aren't super emotional but sort of set the tone of things and and start with those kind of key of tentpole moments on Coco we had the land of the living in the land of the dead and so one of the initial things we think about is how do we want those to differ in the land of the living it's it's very warm colors it's this very sun-drenched dusty kind of Mexican town and in the land of the dead we have a lot of we have every color but it relies a lot on sort of cool tones of the moonlight and these sort of purples and blues some things that I was thinking of as tentpoles in the cocoa color script are you know we have the moment where de la Cruz we discover that he's this evil guy that has to be a really really visually evocative moment as is at the end with Mama Coco and so thinking about those and really nailing those down early and then you have something where it isn't on a high or low emotionally but we know sort of visually it's going to be the most kind of regular let's say which is when they go to the department of family reunions and that's this moment that we actually want to feel like you're going to the Department of Motor Vehicles or something and has sort of that bland bureaucratic lighting and so that in the land of the Dead is sort of the most sort of regular lighting that we get to in the sort of least amount of color variation in the lighting and so as we start to find those things where you need to differentiate that's where you get and then you figure out how to kind of work into those and work out of them my name is a bill Cohen and I'm a production designer at Pixar a production designer is sort of responsible for the overall design and look of a movie what usually happens in these stories is there's a change of some sort you know a character goes from one environment to another or some event happens you know he gets in a car wreck or it gets a new job or falls in love and those are the moments you'll know them in the story you can see them if the story is just like this it's not a very good story and it has to have this type of quality and you can find those just thinking practically about what are they you know what what are the experiences that the character is going through in the story and that that'll tell you these are key events and those are the ones you got a pick and visualize I can show you an example of how I tried to boil down story points into a color script with not too many frames this is cars three and at the beginning McQueen has an extraordinary happy career going and he's feeling great about everything but then he starts to lose races and so you can see how bright and sunny it is here and then it gets darker and more shadowy and eventually he has a horrible crash so if you break that down you could say life is great some guy beat me I really had a horrible wreck and now I'm back in Radiator Springs trying to recover and in which case we're showing this winter light with a dark sky and things like that so you can simplify even a feature film into this kind of smaller format that's the whole joy of it actually is boiling down the movie into as few essential visuals as possible and being able to see the whole movie at once one great example of how we use a color script is on wall-e the idea was that you know we're on earth it's polluted it's 700 years old we have to do all this visual storytelling because we don't have any traditional dialogue in the first 30 or so minutes of the film and so one of the really pinnacle moments in that that first chunk of the film is when wall-e finds the plant and so Ralph's plan was that there should be no green anywhere on earth nothing should have any green so that when while he finds that plan it has so much visual impact for the audience because they haven't seen green for like 30 minutes that you it elicits extra sort of emotion and reaction of things which is what it should because it's the first plant that wall-e or anyone has seen on earth in a long time so that's one way of sort of using the color script and the end color and light to add this extra emotional and sort of visual punch to things it's important to not get too involved in detail it's better to sort of do as few as possible if you can't and and if you think you have a you know a story has a beginning a middle and an end it could possibly be only three paintings but that there's really some change that's occurring there's some resolution there's some conflict and you'll know where those points are in the story by just reading the script if you can boil it down to you know less than 20 it's it's a good idea you know you could possibly do it in 12 or something like that maybe four per you know act one for act 2x3 you end up with 12 that's a good place to start it doesn't mean you couldn't make it more extensive than that but if you can make it as simple and short as possible you'll probably have the strongest statement of your ideas so to summarize color scripts play an important role in clarifying and unifying a vision for how the light and color is used in the movie before we even begin to light the next exercise we'll give you a chance to analyze some actual color scripts used here at Pixar you will also have a chance to generate one of your own have fun