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Warm Place, Warm Lighting

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"See, all we have to do is film stuff in the States and add a yellow tint to it."

When a work made and largely set in a temperate location sends its characters to a hotter place like a desert or an equatorial country, this will be visually signified by a notably warmer Color Wash, usually in yellow or orange. This is a sort of off-putting "othering" that helps establish the new setting as sunny and hot, and in cases of desert settings, dry and dusty. It can also help to enhance the vibrant colors in the new setting. Because of the similarity to sepia tones widespread in westerns, or early-to-mid 20th century period pieces, it can also make the setting seem old-timey. However, yellow in particular can evoke feelings of illness and jaundice, so this may have the additional effect of the new setting looking poor, dirty, grimy, and polluted, especially if contrasting scenes set in colder locations are colored naturally or with cooler tones. Sunshine Noir is one genre that might make use of this.

Subtrope of Color Wash. Compare Orange/Blue Contrast, with which this can overlap if scenes set in cooler locations are suitably cooler-toned, and Unnaturally Blue Lighting, when blue lighting makes a scene look bleak. See also Real Is Brown.

In Real Life, hot places are not usually the color of straw or turmeric, although air pollution does occasionally make the air look oddly colored.


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    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the 2021 Egyptian movie Al Aref (The Knower), whenever the movie shifts to show religious figures (who commonly get portrayed as narrow-minded extremists in Arab media) in rural areas, or to scenes of the deserts of Western Sahara, they suddenly have a yellowish tint in a movie that mostly has a muted grey and green color scheme.
  • Black Hawk Down tints a war-torn Somalia in yellow and grayish-green...except for the American bases which are lit in a cooler blue.
  • The Darjeeling Limited tints rural Indian villages a distinctive golden shade.
  • Extraction, set in Bangladesh, introduces the country with a yellow-tinted panning shot over Dhaka, and the sickly filter remains in many of the Dhaka scenes. In contrast, the scenes that introduce the white protagonist, set in Australia, are neutrally toned.
  • Magic Mike, set in Tampa, FL, uses a bright warm yellow for the outdoor, daytime scenes. By contrast, nighttime and strip club scenes are darker and neutral-to-purple.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? has an extreme yellow filter throughout that makes what were green fields look yellow. While it gives the movie a nostalgic sepia feel, it also accentuates the fact that the story takes place in sweltering rural Mississippi in the middle of summer.
  • Slumdog Millionaire: Many of the scenes set in the Mumbai slums are a turmeric-esque shade of yellow.
  • A lot of the film Traffic (2000) is set in Mexico, and it is suitably golden-tinted. In contrast, scenes with the Ohio native protagonist are washed with blue.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bluths of Arrested Development visit Mexico fairly frequently. Both outdoor and indoor scenes are tinted orange.
  • Breaking Bad: A scene is set in the deserts of New Mexico if it is fairly straw-colored compared to the rest of the show; the yellow or orange color deepens in scenes actually set in Mexico. This continues in the Spin-Off, Better Call Saul
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The first episode depicts Tunisia, which has a rather warm climate, with a yellow-orange filter. The series doesn't use this filter at all when in any of the scenes in America, save for the scenes in Isaiah's neighborhood in Baltimore.
  • When Cal Lightman of Lie to Me goes on vacation to Mexico, every outdoor daytime scene is given an orange wash.
  • Money Heist: In contrast to the rest of the Madrid-set scenes, the Tropical Epilogue of the Royal Mint heist (set in Palawan, Philippines) has a noticeable yellow filter.
  • Never Have I Ever, set in Southern California, uses yellow-filtered scenes to introduce Chennai, India when Nalini visits in season 2. Her initial scenes visiting her family are also shot with yellower lighting than normal.
  • Rosewood: The series takes place in Miami, a city with a very warm climate. The second season was shot through a warm yellow filter.
  • The majority of Teen Wolf is set in California, and is shot in neutral-to-cool tones. When the characters go south to Mexico, however, the lighting is noticeably yellower.
  • Waco does this with different states in the United States. Scenes set around Mount Carmel, in the middle of the Texas desert, are yellow-tinted to emphasize the heat and dust. Scenes set elsewhere, like at FBI headquarters or at the Capitol, are not.
  • The White Lotus, set in a Hawaiian beachside resort, has a noticeable yellow filter over its scenes, emphasizing the heat and societal ills simmering among the characters.

    Video Games 
  • Don't Starve's DLCs that introduce a dangerously hot summer as a counterpart for winter give the scenery a yellowish tint in summertime.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas uses a tonemap biased towards orange for hotter locations in the map such as Los Santos and the deserts of Bone County; this only disappears when the weather turns rainy. By contrast, forested countrysides and San Fierro use a blue-green tonemap to imply lower temperatures.

    Web Videos 
  • Screen Rant Pitch Meetings: In the pitch meeting for Breaking Bad, the Screenwriter asserts that they can film scenes taking place in Mexico in the U.S. by adding a yellow tint in post, since "Everything in Mexico is yellow". He even calls up his writer friend in Mexico to demonstrate. Said writer friend is in the same office with the same producer at the moment (both played by Ryan George), and the scene is yellow and both speak Spanish.

    Western Animation 
  • The Archer episode "Coyote Lovely" is set at the Mexican border; scenes in the desert are colored much more orange than scenes everywhere else.



Video Example(s):


From Madrid to Palawan

Raquel travels from the temperate Spain to the tropical Philippines; her arrival on an island in the latter is signified with yellower lighting.

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