Unusual Doctor Who Photo #16: War Games in Colour

I could perhaps have titled this one “The War Games in Garish Colour”, because here are some photos to illustrate what some of the sets from that story really looked like:

So what was the point of all those bright colours for a story shot in black and white, and why choose those specific ones?  For this particular story, which was made in a huge rush, it might simply have been a case of grabbing whatever bits of set were available already, but there was a science behind use of colours for black and white filming.  Certain colours appeared lighter or darker than one would expect, and some worked well together in black and white, and some didn’t.  For example, two different colours might appear basically the same in black and white, so shades needed to be chosen that provided differentiation.  This didn’t always result in the obvious choices, and there were also limitations.  Use of white could be a problem, as it made lighting a set very difficult due to glare, which is why the original TARDIS console was green, or to take another show as an example, the walls of the interior of the Addams Family house were painted pink.  They were not random choices.  They were carefully selected to give the desired tonal blend when shot in black and white.  There were also other factors to be taken into account: actors had to work within the sets and needed to believe in what they were doing, and sometimes photographs would be taken in colour, even if the sets and costumes were going to be filmed in black and white, which perhaps explains the attention to detail that went into a story such as The Celestial Toymaker.  Doubtless, contemporary tastes also came into play; had it been shot in colour, 1960s Doctor Who would probably have looked just as 1960s as 1980s Doctor Who looked 1980s.  Either way, the visual experience of making Doctor Who in the 60s was certainly very different to the end product.   RP

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on junkyard.blog. Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com. Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in Doctor Who, Random Chatter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Unusual Doctor Who Photo #16: War Games in Colour

  1. scifimike70 says:

    This would certainly be an even more worthy topic by the time that some YouTube channels, including of course Babelcolour, would devote their colourization efforts to some Hartnell and Troughton era clips and trailers. Thank you, RP.

    Liked by 1 person

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