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Decade-Themed Filter

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Twentieth Century period pieces often tint the screen to favor filters because it "evokes the period." Usually, filmmakers and photographers even use the same colors for their respective periods, such as beige and coffee brown for The '90s, dark blue or magenta for The '80s, bright orange for The '60s, high contrast and shiny for The '50s, brownish/orange red and sea-foam green for The '30s, or monochrome and grainy for The Twenties.


How these filters "evoke the period" are due to what color schemes were popular to emulate the zeitgeist throughout each decade and due to the technological advancements of film and camera throughout the past century. To break it down:

  • Silent Era (1880s to 1920s): Low resolution, considerable film damage, high contrast values with little to no grayscale, blacked out edge gradient forming an ellipse/round rect or a vignette, occasional film skips, intertitles and piano music.
  • Talkie Era (late 1920s and 1930s): Same as the above except with improved resolution, a balanced grayscale that now filters all colors, probably no vignette, and of course sound replacing the piano. Early color films only filtered red and bluish-green.
  • Golden Era (1940s-1950s): Despite the existence of color film, which now use three tones instead of two, is usually represented by black and white or sepia. Quality is typically crisp with film damage reduced.
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  • Color Era (1960s-1970s): Uses color film but has a yellow/orange color bias with certain hues missing. Film damage is equivalent to Golden Era. Resolution is dropped if imitating the newly emerging cheap personal camcorders of the time, often adding additional film damage and especially additional skips.
  • Video Era (1980s-1990s): Brighter colors though not quite right, often with biases of green, blue, or magenta. Lower resolution and VCR tracking filters are often a feature. Film damage is no longer included, despite existing until the digital era. (and often being reproduced artificially in said era) Camcorder footage is usually just lower resolution and a little washed out.
  • Digital Era (2000s-present): True color, 1080p or higher resolution, though due to streaming bandwidth limitations early 2000s videos may be dropped in resolution to look authentic. Personal recording devices are sporadically differentiated with lower resolution.

Optionally, audio can also be filtered to mimic the sound quality of the time.

Subtrope of Retraux and Painting the Medium. Compare Monochrome Past.


Comic Books
  • Captain America: Steve Rogers: Flashbacks to the 1940s are black, white, grey and red. Present day scenes, of course, are full colour. This allows the reader to easily identify which scenes take place in Steve's rewritten past.

Film - Animated

  • The Cars short "Time Travel Mater" features scenes from different eras rendered in sepia, black-and-white, and two-strip Technicolor.

Film - Live Action

  • The Artist completely evoked the film style of the late 1920s from the intertitles to the aspect ratio.
  • The Aviator begins in the 1920s, where the film is colored to look like Two-Tone Technicolor. Once it progresses into the 30s onward it gets a more-vibrant 3-Strip Technicolor look.
  • Invoked in the film Be Kind Rewind, when the community comes together to film a "documentary" about the life of musician Fats Waller. Filming with their camera's black & white mode on, they recreate the visual effect of a silent film with a contraption made of a fan spinning in front of the camera (to mimic the frame rate of early films) and strings (to mimic the striations/ damage on the film stock).
  • On the "News on the March" segment of Citizen Kane, clips such as Kane's first marriage were undercranked and sandpapered to give out an 1890s feel.
  • The Chilean film No based on the successful campaign to vote NO to continue Augusto Pinochet's regime in 1988, was made enterely under 80s old cameras and VCR effects to emulate this decade, so the film seems like it was really recorded in The '80s.

New Media

  • Windows Movie Maker has three video effects named Old, Older, and Oldest that gives a video clip an aged feel.


  • Three of Bruno Mars' music videos such as "Locked Out of Heaven", "Treasure", and "When I Was Your Man" were rendered into late 1970s style videos up to the video quality and all.
  • The backstory of the song "Green Tinted Sixties Mind" by Mr. Big - The liner notes from the songs' parent album suggest the inspiration for the song as follows, "Did you ever notice how old movies from the sixties have sort of a green tint to them? Strange but true."
  • Vaporwave and Synthwave music have usually their music videos and/or images under the VCR filters since both styles reference 80s and 90s eras. In the case of Vaporwave, usually 80s TV ads are used in some of the songs as well western animations or anime scenes from those decades. In the case of Synthwave, the original animations and recordings have a similar VCR filter to emulate these years.
  • Pizzicato Five: As a Retraux group, various of their music videos have filters as if they were recorded in The '60s, The '70s or The '80s, depending of the song.

Video Games

  • Cuphead was made enterely as a Retraux video game made in the early Golden Era of animation, in which designs, fashion and even filters remind this era with the first Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop cartoons. You can even unlock a filter reminiscent of two-strip Technicolor films.
  • The original Mass Effect had a special graphics option to apply grain filter over all visuals, specifically to invoke the 1970s movie era.
  • One Finger Death Punch has the "Retro Film Rounds", which come with an extra challenge of special enemies not being Color-Coded for Your Convenience: instead, everything is sepia-colored to invoke old Hong Kong martial arts movies.
  • The WWE Video Games from WWE 13 and onwards allows players to create arenas with filters from the 80s, 90s, late 90s and present day

Web Comics

  • Lackadaisy, alongside the Awesome Art and the well-researched details that goes well with the lives of the anthropomorphic gangster cats in 1920s St. Louis, filter the frames just like an authentic 1920s photograph.

Web Original

  • The appropriately named "1977" Instagram filter, which gives out a 1970s-style Polaroid look.
  • The "100 Years of Exercise" video showcases the different workout routines throughout the decades all the while filtering not only the segments, but also the transitions.
  • A three-part video by a Youtuber named "Aly Art" demonstrates on applying makeup through the decades and how, in theory, camera technology affects the makeup styles, all the while putting filters in each decade.

Western Animation

  • Often when there is a Flashback or time shift to the Western days, everything goes sepia toned.


Example of: