In the TV series Supernatural, almost all episodes have a darkish colour scheme. The only exception is for episodes partly set in another universe, e.g. S05E08 "Changing Channels" where they brothers were put through a number of TV shows, or S06E15 "The French Mistake" where they are thrown into this world. The effect on the viewer is that the Supernatural universe is darker and "grittier" than our own (and other series).

Is there a technical or colloquial term for this effect?

  • I'm fairly sure the word you're looking for is "pallette". Filmmakers can make a scene lighter or darker (metaphorically) by altering the hints, tints and hues used as well as placing filters to block out certain colours. The classic example of this would be the use of a green filter to show that the characters inside "the Matrix" were in an unreal world. – user7812 Jul 6 '15 at 9:43
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    @Richard I would agree but the OP seems to be looking for a term that relates specifically to the dark palette that is used for the show. It would be the equivalent of asking for the term for the yellowed palette used for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which could be argued to be a sort of sepia-tone. – Catija Jul 6 '15 at 22:24
  • @Catija - I suspect the technical term would be "gloomy" or possibly "moody". – user7812 Jul 6 '15 at 22:34
  • @Catija Yes, that's what I was hoping for. If there isn't one, then I'll go with "darker palette" or "gloomy palette". (I'm (non-professionally) writing about the show, and I'd like to use the proper terms as far as possible.) – Jenny D Jul 7 '15 at 5:42
  • Is the color grading similar to that of the later Harry Potter movies? – Napoleon Wilson Jul 9 '15 at 11:42

From the looks of it, the color grading is a slight desaturation with a bleached look. Also, there appears to be a film grain LUT on top of it. The pallette used on set definitely helps the colorist as well in order to create the overall look

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    What is a "film grain LUT"? I'm familiar with film grain, and with LUTs for altering the color. But how does one use a LUT to mimic or alter the film grain? I've never heard those two terms together. – user1118321 Nov 5 '17 at 21:24

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