James L. Carter: Color Temperature

From American Cinematographer, Tuned In Talents by Christopher Probst (May 1999)

"I'm a heavy mixer of color temperatures. I truly believe in letting things go. If the outside was slightly blue and the inside was really warm, that was great. When I did daylight scenes, I'd make the sunlight slightly warm. When we'd go out on the streets at night, every so often I'd let things in the backgrounds go that fluorescent blue-green. I felt that made things look a little more real, a little more like New York, instead of always trying to correct everything out. I have a gel pack for a sodium-vapor effect that I call 'moldy pumpkin.' Depending on how I feel on the day I'm shooting, it consists of 1/2 CTO and pale or light salmon. I like that weird orangy-pink color. I remember reading a study about streetlight colors, and it said that there is more crime in areas lit by sodium-vapor lights. With that in mind, whenever things got really gritty, or we were in a scuzzy area, I would use those sodium-vapor colors. I think it's an oppressive look."

- James L. Carter, ASC

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