Icarus was a test pilot (galwithglasses) wrote,
Icarus was a test pilot

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SPN 7.12 - use of color and light

The cinematography and lighting of this episode were extremely well planned out and added a great deal to the depth of the story.  I've always been impressed with the care taken with the visual presentation of SPN and I thought this episode was particularly well done.

In this episode, color and lighting told a large part of this story visually.  Color was used to distinguish between time periods.  In addition, red was linked with Kronos and time.  Clothing colors were used to tie the two groups of hunters together across time.

Most of the scenes from 1944 had a yellow or red light in them and the colors used in the scenery tended to be reds, olive or greens on the yellow side of the spectrum, gold and deep browns.  Even the blues look muted or more gray.  There was a lot of leather and dark wood. It worked really well to set a tone for the scenes shot in the past.  Not quite the sepia tones of really old photographs but not using the whole spectrum either.  It made for some beautiful film.


The colors go really well with the green army uniform seen on the soldier passing by.

The scenes in the present time are filmed in a more natural light at the beginning of the episode and then toward the end as Sam and Jodi work to get Dean back, the light becomes very blue.  We'll get to that in a bit.

The way color was used carried over into the clothing.  The clothing in the past tends to stay in the same palette as the rest of the surroundings.  Clothing colors also provide a visual connection between the hunters working in 1944 and the ones working in the present.  In addition, the victims and witnesses seem to be grouped by clothing color.

When Dean ends up in 1944, he's wearing browns and greens that fall in with the color scheme from the 1944 scenes.  He's arrested and questioned by a police officer wearing a traditional dark uniform.  There's an obvious difference in what these two men are there for.  

Then Ness arrives on the scene and all of that changes.

The symmetry between Dean and Ness in this picture is a big clue to the fact that they are both cut from the same cloth. (sorry)  Both have a brown jacket over a greenish shirt or suit and the same hair color and posture here.  Here's Ness when we actually get to see him from the front.

Then we find out that these two are both hunters and have the same mission.  The browns and greens stay with the hunters with the addition of blue as the episode progresses.  This also happens in the present time.  Sam's wearing a shirt of the same tones with a touch of red added and when Sheriff Mills arrives, she's got a brown jacket on.

Later when we meet Ezra, another hunter in 1944, it looks like her suit might be really dark brown.  It's harder to tell.

As the episode goes on, Sam, Ness and Ezra stay with the dark browns, reds and greens and Dean and Jodi move into blues and grays. There are more similarities between these pairs than just the colors they wear.

While Jodi spends a good deal of the time researching and interviewing witnesses, she also spends some time looking after Sam by bringing food and making him sleep.  In the past, Dean's spent quite a bit of time looking after Sam.  Ness doesn't participate in the research as much as Sam but he's a creative hunter. He doesn't shrink from using the potential victim as a hostage which is something soulless Sam might have done.  Ness also finds meaning other than revenge in hunting and Sam seems to be at that point too.

As the episode goes on and Sam and Jodi get closer to figuring out how to get Kronos and Dean back to the present, the lighting around them becomes very blue.  Maybe it's because they're getting closer to Dean or maybe it just makes a nice contrast with the reds and golds from Kronos and 1944.

They stay in blue light even as the red from Kronos starts to make its way back to the present.  

All the way through the episode Kronos and time are associated with red.  

Even his victims or potential targets at one point have red on as well as blue.

Even Dean.

At the end, when they get Kronos back and Sam stabs him, the red becomes less and the blue light becomes more prominent.

His heart beats like the ticking of a clock as he's dying.

Throughout the episode the hunters in the present interview witnesses.  The witnesses also have similar colors for their clothing as well.  Mostly pinkish reds, browns and grays.  Sam is a witness also and maybe the red in his shirt could go with that.  Maybe that's just pushing it.

Witness number one's got an afghan blanket and similar ones show up with another witness.


Lila's got several afghans around her as well as the yarn in the foreground.

A last couple of shots showing similar action with the two different kinds of lighting.

In the end though, it doesn't seem to matter where they are in time, when they reflect on the people they've lost, it's a pretty similar picture with both brothers in the shadows.

All caps from Home of the Nutty or true_fellings

Tags: 7.12, cap and recap were sitting on a fence, geekery, spn, thoughts

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