Everything you needto know about a film mood board

March 19, 2023


Making a film or video project involves different visual elements, and the pre-production phase can be extra stressful. Sometimes you are baffled by what type of visuals you wish to bring or what kind of cinematic tone you want to set.

A cinema clapper, a hollywood staple

While you have topics like story, characters, location, etc to worry about, another important component is the film mood board design.

After all, you want to portray the visuals and tone in the best way, right? This is where a film mood board comes in to save the day and aid in the creative process.

But what is a film mood board, and why is it important for your next short film or big project? In this article, we answer it all.

What is a film mood board?

A film mood board conveys the feel and look of a project or specific scene. You can use the mood board to illustrate how all elements would fit together to quickly get the aesthetic. Mood boards show you what you can expect your project to look like.

This is extremely important for filmmakers who hold a distinct vision of their art and want to portray it perfectly to their audience. Or if you need an inspiration board to get the creative juices flowing.

Every filmmaker has a particular style, from the cinematography, production design, wardrobe, and set, their goal is to ensure their unique vision is delivered, and mood boards can help with that perfectly.

How is a Film Mood Board Helpful?

If you are still unsure about the value of a film mood board, then no worries, we'll explain. The core advantage of mood boards is how they quickly organize all ideas into one solid and connected package.

Thoughts that may be running rampant in your head begin making sense once on the mood board design. It offers everyone a very clear view of what direction they are headed toward and if they wish to change or amp things up. It saves time from second-guessing and takes the guesswork out by giving you a good visual demonstration.

With a good film mood board to get things running, all crew members can focus better and have the same result in mind instead of relying on verbal communication and mixed or confused messages.

Lastly, a mood board can give some powerful motivation in tackling challenging projects, and its dreadful pre-production phase can serve as a precious reminder of the inspiration that started it all.

How to Create a Film Mood Board

Now that we've gotten the importance of a film mood board out of the way let us look at how making a mood board works.

Gather All Inspirations

The initial and most important step in creating the mood board is gathering the visual references that evoke emotion and inspiration. You can be creative with your selection, opt for a range of things like photos, shots from your inspirational works, or generally inspiring photography.

mood boards

Moreover, you can go for paintings, artworks or anything that contributed to bringing out some level of creativity.

Make sure you look out for the shapes, colours or textures that may be particularly evocative of the film world you wish to create. When everything comes together, new ideas can take root too.


What's a film without some memorable character? Of course, you need a fully realized character that makes an impact; therefore, your characters are an integral element of the mood board.

film mood board, costumes

Do you have certain aesthetics in mind for a role? Are your protagonists or antagonists supposed to stand out visually? Get it all on your film mood board. Factor in physical traits, wardrobe, visual choices, concolourous, etc.

How your characters look is particularly important for your stories, especially if you are working with period works, futuristic pieces or a science fiction film. Include all visual details in the mood board to help you get a vivid picture.

Your Film World

Another important aspect of the mood board? The world. Whatever universe you wish to create with your imagination, get all ideas on the mood board.

Be it a project like Downton Abbey, Wizard of Oz or Avatar, you are creating a fantasy, so sell that. Think of all the set design elements, props, and fixtures to help compose that perfect fictional world. Visually showing your idea for the fictional world is key because it sets the basis of the entire story.

Set design has always been essential in filmmaking, for it brings that fictional world to life while adding a layer of believability. This helps you immerse your audience a little more and makes them feel a part of the movie. The set design will establish the mood and tone of your project, effectively communicating your artistic vision.

Lighting is Key

Lighting for the right feeling of the movie is extremely vital for a work's success. Lightning can establish an atmosphere, bring out emotions, and set the tone for the scene. With careful utilization of light, you can draw attention to a certain object or characters while keeping them hooked on important plot points.

You can't imagine Harry Potter in a bright and cheery setting; the warm hues and wide shots with darker cinematography are meant to give a grand fantasy feeling.


The cinematography uses aesthetic elements like lenses, camera angles, and composition. Sure, lighting aids in hitting the right feeling, but the right camera angles can reinforce important story points.

Moreover, specific lenses have the power to create an interesting visual impact. Colour palettes can bring out certain sentiments, while composition draws attention to a particular frame part.

Combining all these components skillfully in your mood board can help convey visuals and aesthetically strong images.

Colour Palette

Colours play a significant role, so carefully picking a colour palette can be instrumental in getting the best results so you can pitch the project even more strongly to potential investors. You can use colours to create moods or get certain emotions from the audience, like sadness, nostalgia, happiness or fear. Furthermore, you can work with effects like overexposure or desaturation to make a scene more surreal or suspenseful.

film mood board, colors ,hues

The Conjuring has extremely eery and dark colours with muted hues that constantly keep you on edge; you are ready for something to happen at any moment. Legally Blonde has these cheery and balanced colours that make you feel good while keeping you connected to the bubbly protagonist.

Utilizing color palettes in the mood board will let you know what feelings and tones you wish to create.

Assembling Your Mood Board

With everything chosen and gathered, it is time to assemble the mood board, and there are amazing digital tools that can help you with that.

You can check out different graphic design apps with free templates and themes ready to make your work easier. You can place your gathered materials on the different sections they offer and get yourself a stunning mood board.


Be it a quest for visual inspiration or attempting to communicate a well-knit aesthetic to the team, creating good film mood boards can be the right way, so everyone gets on the same page.

Making a film mood board goes way beyond collecting shots and pretty pictures; it is about creating your world and how you want it to look. It entails understanding how the colours, light, texture and all other elements will appear together and if they can deliver the mood of your project.

We hope this article gives you a good look into what goes into creating a film mood board and how helpful it can be in making your work a success.

Rishi KapoorRishi Kapoor

Founder & CEO of Paus

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