What is the effect called which uses color to show events that happened in the past?

Attached are two screenshots from an episode of suits. Here the past has a darker maybe even orange tint. Other examples I can recall maybe used black and white, or added like a black trailing effect and or dreamy atmosphere to the shot to show events in the past.

Present: enter image description here

Past: enter image description here


1 Answer 1


As far as I know there is no technical term for the visual effect used for flashbacks. However, it is sometimes referred to as monochrome past:

Ever since the advent of colour photography, the past has been depicted as in black and white, sepia tone or muted colors. Usually invoked for a flashback or silent film homage. Sometimes made fun of by claiming that the real world was, in fact, black and white prior to the invention of color.

Apart from black & white, sepia and other types of colour washes, vignettes, and image noise have been used to indicate flashbacks. These all stem from aged and/or deteriorated photo- and video film.

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