13 September 2012

Color Film -- in 1901?

Any fan of early cinema will remember that there were many instances of color on film. It was a common practice to hand tint film stock to achieve the appearance of flame or a night sky. What few people know, however is that actual real-life color images had been put on film as early as 1901 or 1902, thanks to the pioneering work of Britisher Edward Turner. Film shot by Turner languished after his death in 1903, eventually being donated to the London Science Museum in 1937, where it remained in storage until a few years ago. Then, the National Media Museum got hold of the film, digitized it and made it available to be seen by the public.

The process used by Turner was clunky and unreliable, but provided vivid images of true-color life, as demonstrated by the image of the scarlet macaw, shown.

You can read more about this early work in color film here.

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