Prizma II


“In its final form Prizma made use of duplitized positive film. As in previous Prizma systems, the original negatives were alternate frame sequential exposures. The Prizma negative was printed on both sides of the positive film in a special printer. After developing in a normal black and white developer it was bleached in a bath that converted the two images to silver iodide. Two methods appear to have been used for dyeing the duplitized prints:

1. The film was wound tightly on a drum and the exposed side was dyed. When this step was completed, the film was dried and reversed onto a second drum and dyed the other color.10

2. The print was coated with a removable resist on the side printed from the blue-green negative. The red-orange negative side was then dyed blue-green. When the dyeing was completed the resist was removed and the film was dried. Next the red-orange side was coated with resist and the other side of the print was dyed red-orange.”

(Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 91-94.)

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Original Technical Papers and Primary Sources

Kelley, William Van Doren (1919): Adding Color to Motion. In: Transactions of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 8, April 1919, pp. 76–79. Download.

Secondary Sources

Alt, Dirk (2011): “Der Farbfilm marschiert!” Frühe Farbfilmverfahren und NS-Propaganda 1933-1945. München: Belleville, on pp. 41–42. (in German) View Quote

Brown, Simon (2012): Technical Appendix. In: Sarah Street: Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 259-287, on pp. 279-280. View Quote

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (2000): Silent Cinema. London: BFI, p. 36 . View Quote

Fenton, Alfred (1926): Retrospect in Color. Color Motion Photography from the Inception to Date. In: Motion Picture Director, (Hollywood Cal.) 3, Nov. 1926, pp. 19-21, 72, on pp. 19 ff. View Quote

Klein, Adrian Bernhard = Cornwell-Clyne (1940): Colour Cinematography. Boston: American Photographic Pub. Co., 2nd revised edition, p. 19. View Quote

Layton, James; Pierce, David (2015): The Dawn of Technicolor. Rochester: George Eastman House, on pp. 53–54 View Quote, on p. 59 View Quote, on p. 62 View Quote, on pp. 85–87. View Quote

Li, Bin (2013): On the Prizma Colour System. (Master Thesis) Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam. Download.

Montesanti, Fausto (1954): Lineamenti di una storia del film a colori. In: Giuseppe Sala (ed.): Bianco e Nero. Il colore nel cinema. Rassegna mensile di studi cinematografici, XV,2-4, pp. 11–51, on pp. 25–26. (in Italian) View Quote

Nowotny, Robert A. (1983): The Way of All Flesh Tones. A History of Color Motion Picture Processes, 1895-1929. New York: Garland Pub., pp. 167-185. View Quote

Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 91-94. View Quote

Talbot, Frederick A. (1923): Moving Pictures. Philadelphia: Lippincott 1923, pp. 354 ff. View Quote


Absorbances measured with a multispectral imaging system from film areas with pure dyes. Credit: Giorgio Trumpy, ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors.

See the specific sample from which the spectra were measured.


Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): Notes on Restoring Subtractive Two-Colour Process Prints. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 310-313. View Quote

Read, Paul (2009): Synthetic Dyes and Their Origins. In: Film History, 21.1, pp. 9-46, on pp. 16-19. View Quote

Contemporary Reception

Anonymous (1922): The First Photoplay in Colors. In: Photoplay, 22,1, 1922, p. 72. View Quote

Ramsaye, Terry (1922): Color and the Photoplay. In: Photoplay, 22,4, p. 78 and pp. 110-111. View Quote

Ramsaye, Terry (1923): The Romantic History of the Motion Picture. Chapter XX: The Great Story of Color on the Screen. In: Photoplay, 24,6, pp. 130-131. View Quote


The Glorious Adventure (GBR 1922, J. Stuart Blackton):
Anonymous (1922): Across the Silversheet. New Screen Plays in Review. In: Motion Picture Magazine, XXIII,6, Jul., pp. 75–76. View Quote

Anonymous (1922): The Glorious Adventure. In: The Bioscope, 797,L, Jan., p. 43. View Quote

Selected Analyses

The Glorious Adventure (GB 1922, J. Stuart Blackton):
Brown, Simon; Street, Sarah; Watkins, Liz (2013): Colour Adventures with Prizma and Claude Friese-Greene in the 1920s. In: British Colour Cinema. Practices and Theories. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 22-36, on pp. 22-32. View Quote

Street, Sarah; Yumibe, Joshua (2019): Chromatic Modernity. Color, Cinema, and Media of the 1920s. New York: Columbia University Press, on pp. 141–142 View Quote and on p. 208. View Quote