Setting the right mood

In this post I will go into detail about the mood and feel of my documentary ’22 Years later’ through pictures. Building on the from theme of an emotional journey which starts off as very shocking with archive funeral footage early on, then the sadness of the incident and how they felt, back through to present day and what they have learnt we have created two sets of colour grading. Colour grading is such a key and instrumental part of film making. ‘Color grading can be one of the most impactful tweaks you can make to your work once it’s been shot. It has the potential to elevate a good image to great, or a great image to outstanding’ (The power 2015)The first set will be quite dim to reflect the first half of the film and second brighter to reflect the second half. Even though the narrative of Afolabi’s death and the journey that the family have been on ever since does not fit into a fixed linear format, the two sets of moods will reflect some sort of change and will be used just as a outline.

Mood 1

These pictures were taken on a Canon 5D Mrk ii with a Canon EF 17-40mm f4 L USM Lens. The colour grading on all the pictures taken are also a working progress and will change and develop at time goes on. These 1st set of pictures are clearly very dim and dark, which is suppose to reflect the mood of the family when they first learnt that their beloved brother and son Afolabi was fatally murdered. We really want the audience to understand the severity of what happened and the dramatic affect it had on the family. There are thousands of documentaries which deal with similar issues. For example The day I died (2002), “Dear Zachary” (2008), Making a murderer (2015) and so fourth. We want to make sure that we engage our audience through shock and sadness from the off set. Using this sort of colouring will aid us in achieving this target. The colour grading of a film tends to set the tempo of the edit, the pacing of the narrative and can also be used as a subliminal symbolisation of something. ‘Colour can also be less intrinsic to the narrative and more symbolic. Decisions are made about colour in relation to the subliminal messages they share or the connotations of them within a certain context’ (Robert Mills 2015). We want to send a message to the audience by evoking certain emotions through the use of colour.

Mood 2


Similarly to the first set of pictures we are trying to enforce a ‘Preferred reading‘ (Preferred 2012) from our audience through the use of colour. As the film progresses we will lighten the mood of the doc by making the colour of the pictures brighter. It will still maintain a certain level of dim to reflect the overall mood of the film, but there will be a dramatic change which will also represent the passing of 22 years. Even bad situations have some sort of positive outcome. We will not force this notion upon the family but we will try to understand the good things which have come out of the horrific situation. We will do this through the wording of certain questions and discussions. All of these things will help to give our film an organic emotional journey whilst maintaining the authenticity of the story.

Doing this mood board activity as really helped me as the director to see the vision of the film clearer. I will use this technique going forward in my upcoming projects.


Geffin, D. and and, D.G. (2015) The power of color grading and the benefit it can have on your work summarized in Two minutes. Available at: (Accessed: 4 March 2016).

The day I died (2002) Directed by Achems Razor [Documentary]. U.S.A: Top Documentary Films

“Dear Zachary” (2008) Directed by Kurt Kuenne [Documentary]. U.S.A: MSNBC Films

Making a murderer (2015) Directed by Laura Ricciardi [Documentary]. U.S.A: Netflix

Mills, R. (2015) Colour and storytelling in films. Available at: (Accessed: 4 March 2016).

Name (2012) Preferred/negotiated/Oppositional readings – Stuart Hall. Available at: (Accessed: 4 March 2016).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s