Black Sails: A Lesson in Color

We don’t often cover television shows here at Colour Studio. With a name like Black Sails is hard for a color blog to resist! Executive produced by Michael Bay, Black Sails is a new show from Starz that on first look  might just seem like yet another pirate drama, but the show was based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel Treasure Island and stands to put a bit of dirt and underworld grime back into the recently romanticized pirate ethos. But why are we so interested? Black Sails has a color lesson to teach about the power of neutrals.

You can learn a lot just by watching the trailer.  The show, which is a gritty portrayal of the pirate life, doesn’t resort to the dreary grays and desaturated tones of games likes Fallout 3. Black Sails manages to feel gritty and violent and exhausted without being bleak. The colors of the show are rich and tonal and most importantly neutral, or at least neutral with a warm bent. The show’s color palette is heavy in black of course, but not a pure inky black, a dusty incomplete color that lingers at the edges of fabric and frame alike. The colors suggest not just an unkempt underworld but a place where characters breathe lungfuls of hot, moist, particulate laden air.

All images property of Starz 

The show is a great example of how the emotional magnitude of colors is played not by the individual colors themselves but how and in what groupings they appear. The dusty, bleed together quality of the colors create a visual environment that lets a splash of red blood or wide swath of blue water really catch the eye, giving more meaning and highlighting certain scenes. This technique can be used in all kinds of color applications: web site design, products and logos, fashion and of course our specialty, architecture. We would love to hear what shows have inspired you in your hunt for new colors!

One thought on “Black Sails: A Lesson in Color

  1. Captain Flint has become my favorite actor and pirate. This role has been successfully played by Toby Stephens in the ongoing TV Series Black Sails. The show ended its Season 3 in the last week of march and the finale was thrilling as expected. He has worn a black leather coat in the show which is reachable at Sky-Seller online shop. For more visit the site

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