Project Description

Cracking the Colour Code

3 x 52 minute documentary

Why is the sky blue? Why do leaves turn yellow in autumn? And why does red play so powerful a role in so many cultures? Is colour real, or is it just a construct of our brains?

Taking the globe as its canvas, and drawing on science, history, art and other disciplines, Cracking the Colour Code is a series for people who are interested in the many mysteries posed by colour, and at the same time seek to enjoy the incredible diversity and sensation that colour has to offer in our world.

While colour is a child of science and physics, it triggers within us a host of emotional, intuitive and intellectual responses – deeply rooted within ourselves and our culture. This series is both food for the intellect and the senses – delivered as a carefully arranged and orchestrated feast, yet one that is playful and provocative.

Based on three years of extensive research Cracking the Colour Code draws on a range of disciplines and leading experts – including physicists, neurologists, artists, ethnologists, colour consultants, historians, artisans and marketing executives – each in some way intimately concerned with the nature and power of colour. Each offers insights, even new discoveries, that will challenge our understanding of colour.

Episode 1 Viewing Colours
The central focus of this episode is the nature of colour. It draws on the latest science to find out how – and why – humans and other living things view the world in colour. For those of us who can see colour, it is fundamental to our existence. The question is where does this mysterious force originate and do we all see colour the same way?

Episode 2 Making Colours
Colour is fundamental to expressing who we are and our place in the world. From our most ancient cultures to our contemporary world, we use colour for cultural and spiritual self-expression. The development of new colours and new uses for colour is intimately linked to technological innovation, expanding trade, and the power of empires. In this episode we explore the worlds of anthropology, art, and science to discover how and why new colours and palettes emerged over the history of human kind.

Episode 3 The Power of Colour
In this episode we look at the fascinating power of colour from ancient ritualistic uses of colour through to its use of modern marketeers. Along the way we delve into the work of anthropologists, scientists and designers to explore what is myth and what is truth about the power of colour. How much is known about the hold colour has on us? How does colour affect us emotionally, physically and mentally?

Winner Bronze World Medal, Science and Technology, New York Festival 2009
Winner Best Cinematography in a Documentary, Episode 2 Making Colours, Samsung Mobile AFI Awards 2009
Nominated for Best Editing in a Documentary, Episode 2 Making Colours, Samsung Mobile AFI Awards 2009

Director and Writer  Hugh Piper
Co-Writer  Greg Colgan
Director of Photography  Ian Batt & Vincent Fooy
Editor  Lawrie Silvestrin
Original Concept and Additional Direction Olivier Lassu
Producers  Andrew Ogilvie & Fabrice Estève
An Electric Pictures and Gedeon Programmes Production 2008