This is a 2-part question:

  • Is it technically possible to shoot a movie though a colored lens/filter? (as opposed to changing the image color AFTER the movie is shot, via CGI or earlier effects)

  • If possible, was there ever any mainstream (e.g. not an indie) movie shot in its entirety 100% through a color lens or filter?

  • I am guessing you are not interested in answers which relate to technology that are shot through a colored filter but then the end result is a 'normal' image - e.g. Technicolor alternately or simultaneously (depending on the system) shot red and green filtered images onto black and white film - then a post filming process turned this into a color image. You are only interested in movies that have a visible filter color throughout the movie.
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 26, 2012 at 16:37
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    Technically it is possible to to do this (and I am sure it has been done) - but I suspect that cinematographers would prefer to do this after the shoot where they have more control over changing the effect.
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 26, 2012 at 16:44
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    Not as expensive as having to re-do shoots because it doesn't look right.
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 26, 2012 at 16:47
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    I guess non-CGI colouring would be as simple as using coloured light when copying. One disadvantage would be that the coloured master then already is a copy, which means slightly less quality.
    – celtschk
    Jul 3, 2012 at 7:26
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    Papermoon was shot with a red filter. (I suspect contrary to the statement in the article not all the time.) But this is probably true for every b/w movie.
    – his
    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:05

3 Answers 3


It is possible. According to this article, Alexander Sokurov's Faust (2011) was filmed entirely through a "color filter that lends it a faded tone, tending towards blues and greys and very, very stark whites." The film won the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival. The film may have been changed further through CGI, but this example answers the first part of your question.


I have seen some references to the move Safe House being shot with colored filters, but I have not been able to confirm with an authoritative source.

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    You might look at the films of Tony Scott. Colored filters are apparently one of his trademarks.
    – MJ6
    Jul 8, 2012 at 4:06

It's not just possible, it's mandatory!

If you've shopped for light bulbs lately, you know there are different color temperatures. LEDs used to be infamously blue, but now, they're available in any color you want. So when you make a production, you pick a color temperature to shoot in so all your stuff matches.

Say your production standard is you shoot 4000K color temperature. Your shooting lights are that, and for scenes involving indigenous desk lamps or chandeliers, you have screw-in bulbs that are 4000K. Everything matches.

But it's a cloudy day, and you are being overwhelmed by 6000k natural light just pouring in a window. You also need your own lighting on the actors. So you either have to use 6000K lights, or gel your lights to 6000K, or else you'll get this.

So yeah. You correct that, at the camera, with a filter that corrects 6000K to 4000K.

Of course, that wouldn't really be noticeable; the entire point is not to be noticeable.


The 1958 film South Pacific made extensive use of colored filters and the result was so irritating that it probably scared other filmmakers away from the technique for decades.


The article is ambiguous but I believe the filters were applied in post-production.

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