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[2024] Full Tutorial of Wong Kar-wai Color Grading

If you’re a fan of East Asian culture, it would be difficult to hold a conversation with your friends these days without talking about the latest episode of Blossoms Shanghai. Directed by Wong Kar-wai, it’s the first foray into TV for the Hong Kong director who gained international recognition with his unique style of using color and light to create mood and atmosphere in his films.

From understanding his color palette choices to comprehending the significance of hues in the storytelling, we will explore different techniques and processes of Wong Kar-wai color grading to create his signature visual aesthetics.

Part 1. Top 3 Wong Kar-wai Color Grading Explanation

The influence of Wong Kar-wai on global cinema cannot be overstated with his unique approach to color grading that has become a trademark of his work, which allows him to create evocative and atmospheric films that resonate with audiences.

In this section, we’re going to discuss three of Wong Kar-wai's most notable color grading styles and their representation in his films along with an explanation of the color expression in each example.

1. Red and Blue Dominance

With films saturated in deep and meaningful tones, Wong Kar-wai color grading developed visual metaphors to emphasize the melodrama of the story. This technique involves saturating the frames with deep reds and cool blues, which create a visually striking contrast and the dominance of these two colors enhances the emotional tension between characters.

Film Example: In the Mood for Love (2000)

Let’s talk about Wong Kar-wai's masterclass In the Mood for Love in which the color expression of red and blue dominance plays a significant role. The warm red tones symbolize passion, while the cool blue hues represent isolation and longing and this contrast between the two dominant colors enhances the visual storytelling and immerses the audience in the characters' emotional journey.

in the mood for love of wong kar-wai color grading

2. Green Symbolism

As we know green is often associated with growth, nature, and the passage of time, whereas in filmography, it is often used to evoke a sense of nostalgia and longing. Wong Kar-wai strategically incorporates various shades of green into the sets, costumes, and lighting to create a dreamlike and ethereal atmosphere.

Film Example: 2046 (2004)

In the film 2046, the color expression of green symbolism is intricately woven into the storytelling with the lush green tones representing the characters' longing for the past and their desire for change. This Wong Kar-wai color grading style enhances the film's themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships.

2046 of wong kar-wai color grading

3. Neon Lights and Urban Atmosphere

The color grading style with the use of neon lights and urban atmosphere is known to capture the vibrant energy and fast-paced nature of city life. Filmmakers like Wong Kar-wai apply bold and intense hues with neon lights illuminating the frames that symbolize desires, loneliness, and the fleeting nature of human connections in a bustling urban environment.

Film Example: Chungking Express (1994)

The color palette used in Chungking Express is one of the best examples here in which the expression of neon lights and the urban atmosphere reflects the character’s emotional states and the chaotic city environment they inhabit. The juxtaposition of bright and dark colors creates a distinctive sense of urgency and unpredictability, which helps to mirror the characters' experiences.

chungking express of wong kar-wai color grading

Part 2. Replicate Wong Kar-wai Color Grading with Ease

While Wong Kar-wai color grading techniques are incredible and visually fascinating, applying them in your video production projects is something that’s not very easy or straightforward. You can adjust video brightness, contrast, exposure, saturation, and other parameters to achieve a similar effect, but it requires a keen eye for color and a deep understanding of the desired outcome.

To help you in this process, we will recommend here 2 platforms that provide different styles and specific steps with visual representations for achieving Wong Kar-wai color grading.

Lemon8

Lemon8 is a popular online platform created by ByteDance that provides step-by-step instructions and various video tutorials that help color videography enthusiasts replicate the required color grading and achieve the desired color effects.

You can simply visit the Lemon8 website and search for “Wong Kar-wai color grading” or related keywords and you will likely find a selection of tutorials that provide detailed explanations and practical examples of how to follow along and apply the techniques to your own projects.

replicate wong kar-wai color grading with lemon 8

TikTok

TikTok is another popular social media platform known for its short-form videos that also offer a wealth of content related to color grading and video editing.

Many talented creators on TikTok share their knowledge and expertise by providing tutorials on replicating famous color grading styles, including Wong Kar-wai's. By searching for relevant hashtags like #WongKarWaiColorGrading or #ColorGradingTutorials, you can discover a wide range of videos that offer detailed instructions and tips on achieving Wong Kar-wai color grading effects.

replicate wong kar-wai color grading with tiktok

NOTE: Without a professional anti-shake shooting device, then Wong's most prominent "screen shake" feature is likely to obscure the details of the color expression.

In order to truly capture the essence of Wong's style, you will require more advanced stabilization processing techniques to achieve the desired aesthetic.

Part 3. Pro-Tips: Enhance Your Wong Kar-wai Color Grading Video

Do you know there is now a solution that allows you to achieve stunning color-stabilized enhancements without professional skills or any prior expertise? Yes, HitPaw Video Enhancer.

You can simply import your video material into the program and click on the Stabilize Model; the software will automatically reduce the video jitter, and the lens language and color expression more naturally fusion together, to achieve a better "Wong Kar-wai" effect.

enhance wong kar-wai color grading video

Pros of HitPaw Video Enhancer

  • Advanced algorithms to ensure the integrity of your footage while enhancing the color details
  • A dedicated stabilization model to correct any shaking in your videos
  • Effortlessly fix blurry animation, faded color, background noise, and other problems
  • Futuristic AI video enhancer is designed to elevate low-resolution footage
  • Versatile in optimizing your videos even with batch process

Steps to Enhance Wong Kar-wai Color Grading Shot

  • Step 1: Get HitPaw Video Enhancer for Your Computer
    Before starting to enhance your videos, you will need to go to the official website of HitPaw Video Enhancer or click on one of the download buttons given below to download the installation package of the software.

  • Step 2: Import the Video with Wong Kar-wai Color Grading
    After you have installed the program on your computer, you need to upload the video by clicking on the Choose File tab or just drag and drop the original video to the interface of the program.

    import video files
  • Step 3: Select the Stabilize Model
    Now, you will get different AI models in HitPaw Video Enhancer to perform different editing and enhancing tasks for you. To enhance the color details more precisely or correct shaking in your video with Wong Kar-wai color grading, you need to select the Stabilize Model and proceed to the next step.

    stabilize wong kar-wai color grading video
  • Step 4: Preview the Stabilization Effect and Export
    Next, click on the Preview button and the HitPaw Video Enhancer will automatically start processing your video. Once you’re satisfied with the final results, click on the Export button to save the enhanced video with Wong Kar-wai color grading on your device.

    export videos

FAQs of Wong Kar-wai Color Grading

Q1. Why is Blossoms Shanghai so popular?

A1. Whether it’s unique plots, strong characters, or cinematography, all of Wong Kar-wai's cinematic tricks and techniques to date are on display in Blossoms Shanghai. This TV series manages to bridge the gap between the macrocosm of economic development and the microcosm of individual lives which made it extremely popular among all types of viewers.

Q2. Why is Wong Kar-wai Color Grading so popular?

A2. As we have discussed at the start of this article, Wong Kar-wai makes extensive use of color's ideographic effect to convey the character’s inner state and overall theme of the films which sets his work apart from others.

Final Thoughts

Drawing inspiration from Wong Kar-wai's work, we can see how different color effects help to create emotions and capture the vitality of a landscape.

But in order to achieve a good effect of Wong Kar-wai style, it is still essential to show the picture details in the jitter, HitPaw Video Enhancer is the ideal tool for the job. It will help you achieve professional-grade color enhancements effortlessly with the help of its powerful versatility.

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