(We had the good fortune of having Rachel step in and direct a couple episodes while Sacha was out of town. She was also gracious enough to contribute to the blog!)
Hey Good Buddies!
Last summer, I was riding a bus down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago when I saw the most perfect rainbow I had ever seen. A thunderstorm had just lifted, and the first bits of sunlight were cracking through the clouds above the city skyline. I looked out across Lake Michigan, and there it was - a fully arched rainbow featuring the completed spectrum of color - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet - or, ROY G. BIV, as I learned in the second grade.
Like many of you, I’ve been learning about colors since before I could talk. I just assumed that after 30+ years of learning about colors, I knew everything there was to know. However, I was proven wrong when I joined Sajja and Kabba onset to shoot this episode. Behind the scenes, I learned something new.
If you’re like me, you learned the three primary colors in your grade school art class: red, yellow, and blue. These three colors can be mixed together to make just about every other color of the rainbow. Grab some paint and you can experiment mixing these colors with your kiddos:
Red + Yellow = Orange
Yellow + Blue = Green
Blue + Red = Purple
Mix in a little black or white, and you can make varying shades.
While shooting Sajja and Kabba, we were working with light, not paint, and I learned that the primary colors of light are different than those of paint: red, GREEN, and blue.
I was shocked. How could this be? Why are they different?
I did a little research, and not only did I uncover why the primary colors of light are different, I also learned that red, yellow, and blue aren’t the true primary colors of paint (or pigment as the arts and sciences world like to refer to it), but yellow, magenta, and cyan are. Talk about mind blowing!
Color is simply light traveling at different wavelengths. For example, light with a wavelength of about 700 nanometers is seen as red.
We are able to see color because our eyes contain two different types of photoreceptors that are sensitive to light. The first kind of photoreceptor is a cone, which is sensitive to color, and the second kind of photoreceptor is a rod, which is sensitive to intensity.
The reason we can see more than one color at a time is because each of our eyes contains three different cones. Guess which colors these cones are sensitive to?
You got it! One is sensitive to red, the other green, and the third blue, creating the foundation for the primary colors of light.
You can experiment with light mixing at home by grabbing a flashlight and buying some of these colored gels off amazon.
When you do, you’ll discover, as I did, what the true primary colors of pigment are:
Red Light + Blue Light = Magenta
Blue Light + Green Light = Cyan
Green Light + Red Light = Yellow
Now, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to confuse your kids before they go to school. My suggestion? Just gather your paints and lighting gels, and mix the day away. Your kids are sure to have a blast.
Rachel Clair lives in Chicago and can be reached at https://www.rachelclair.com