Framing Movie Posters - choosing a frame colour to enhance your poster....
At Art of the Movies, we want to get long forgotten movie posters out of drawers and boxes and where they should be, on walls.
To do that properly (you wouldn't use 'blu tack', Sellotape or drawing pins, would you?) your poster needs to be framed. Not only will that enable it to be hung, it will protect it, and, if framed well, will enhance it too.
In this blog post, we are going to look at how the frame colour that you choose will dramatically affect how your poster presents itself to the viewer.
To understand that properly, we need to take a few moments to consider how we all see and interpret colour...
How We Perceive Colour...
A wonder of evolution, developed over 100 million years, the way the eye works is very similar to a modern camera. The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye. A lens focusses light on a set of receptors that react to the wavelength of the light hitting them. For our colour vision, these react to the wavelengths of Red, Green and Blue light.
As far back as classical Greece it had been noted that our brains' interpretation of the resulting colours is not consistent. In the 13th Century, St Thomas Aquinas also noted that purple looks different next to white than it does next to black.
This 'relative perception' is a result of complex post-processing of those colour wavelength signals. These processes are able to compare adjacent signals, filter out unwanted information, fill in gaps and even apply the brain's previous experience, before deciding how the colours in the image before us are presented to our conscious self.
And that all happens in the blink of an eye. Quite remarkable.
Choosing a Frame Colour
Now let's look at how recognising that, might influence your choice of frame colour. To do this, we are going to use an original 'one sheet' movie poster from 1985's "Back to the Future".
The poster itself is stunning. The art from Drew Struzan (we'll do a blog post about him at some point) went through lots of iterations before he captured the film perfectly in this image.
At first it looks like a photo of Michael J. Fox, but, it's entirely hand painted, even the flames.
The poster employs a few bold colours, so it's perfect to demonstrate how your choice of frame colour can emphasise those within a poster.
Firstly, let's acknowledge that many people will be quite conservative or consistent in their choice of frame. A very common choice for posters, especially for those with a collection to display, is a simple black frame.
Here it is on the "Back to Future" poster. Pause to take it in, before reading further.
A simple black frame seems to work reasonably well with most modern posters. For this poster, it emphasises Marty, particularly the shadows around his clothes, his watch and the glasses on top of his head.
The image that our brain has presented to our conscious self emphasises the colours that are most like the frame. In this case, the black colours used when painting Marty.
Let's use that as our baseline.
Next we are going to take a look at a fairly unusual frame choice, a burgundy polished wood frame. Again, take time to absorb the photo before reading further.
Immediately, our eyes are now drawn to Marty's face, his arms, the gilet jacket and (to a lesser degree) the bonnet of the DeLorean car, reflecting the flames around it.
Now, let's move to a silver frame.
In this image, the poster has been 'floated' (we'll have to cover floating a poster in a later blog post) on a black background, set within the silver frame.
The effect is to draw our eyes to the open door of the DeLorean car and the light emanating from it. Unfortunately, our eyes are getting a little confused by the white border of the poster and also some of the text. It's almost as if our eyes aren't exactly sure where to look. So, if we were going to use this frame, we might want to use a mount to cover the white border, rather than floating the poster.
Next, let's look at a really brave choice of frame...
In this image, we've selected a mahogany coloured frame - and - 'pop!' our eyes are immediately drawn to the trails of fire disappearing between Marty's legs and in to the distance.
So, as we can see, the post-processing undertaken on the image that is then presented to our conscious self, picks out colours that are similar to the colour of the frame.
You can also try frames that pick out a couple of colours within the poster.
In this image, we have used a frame with blue and subtle orange tones. It highlights the flame trail, but also the blues within the sky. We like this one. It sits well with the eye and the frame does not dominate the poster. It does exactly what a frame should, it frames and enhances the poster.
So, there we go. We hope this post has given you an appreciation of how your choice of frame can influence how your poster is interpreted by the viewer. Get it right and you can bring your poster to life. Get it wrong and it can actually make the poster more difficult to look at.
Taking time to chose a frame is a really enjoyable experience. It helps make your movie poster even more unique and personal to you.
So, what are you waiting for? Take a look through our Catalogue and choose a guaranteed original movie poster to frame and hang on your wall!
We hope you find something you love.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team.