Agfacolor lenticular / Agfacolor Linsenrasterfilm


The basic idea of the lenticular film was developed by the German Raphaël Liesegang in 1896 and applied to still photography by the French Rodolphe Berthon in 1908.

The lenticular process applies tiny cylindrical lenses embossed on the film support which produce an additive screen in combination with a filter. The lenses refract the incident light which is separated through a striped filter (see image no. 4) into the additive primaries red, green and blue each of which has the width of one third of the lenses. The filter is placed in front of the lens of the camera and the projector, thus inverting the process (see fig. no. 3).

On closer inspection the Agfacolor lenticular film is black and white with a regular pattern of fine vertical elevations (see image no. 8). The width of the lenses is 0.028 mm. Thus the resolution is improved by a factor of almost 2 compared to the competitors Kodacolor and Keller-Dorian.

While this process was well adjusted to amateur work thanks to the simplicity of the handling, it was never a success in professional film production. As in all of the screen processes the loss of light due to the screen and filter was a severe drawback.

Compared to mosaic screens such as the Lumières’ Autochrome and the corresponding film processes such as Cinécolor, the regular pattern of the lenticular screen did not produce obtrusive irregularities during projection.

Original Technical Papers and Primary Sources

Weil, F. (1933): The Optical-Photographic Principles of the Agfacolor Process. In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 20,4, April, 1933, p. 301-308. View Quote

Secondary Sources

Alt, Dirk (2011): “Der Farbfilm marschiert!” Frühe Farbfilmverfahren und NS-Propaganda 1933-1945. München: Belleville, on pp. 52-53 View Quote and on p. 389. (in German) View Quote

Anonymous (1932): Agfa-Color. In: Die Kinotechnik, 14,12, Jun., p. 232. (in German) View Quote

Beyer, Friedemann; Koshofer, Gert; Krüger, Michael (2010): UFA in Farbe. Technik, Politik und Starkult zwischen 1936 und 1945. München: Collection Rolf Heyne, on pp. 45–46. (in German) View Quote

Dr. N. (1937): Linsenraster. In: Film-Kurier, 183, 2.8.1937, Serie “Farb-Film-Fibel”. (in German) View Quote

Eggert, John; Heymer, Gerd (1937): Der Stand der Farbenphotographie. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, pp. 7–28, on pp. 10–15 View Quote and on pp. 26–28. (in German) View Quote

Finger, Erhard (1994): Die Filmfabrik Wolfen. Porträt eines traditionsreichen Unternehmens 1909 bis 1994. GÖS-Gesellschaft für Sanierungsmaßnahmen Wolfen und Thalheim mbH, Filmfabrik Wolfen GmbH i.L., pp. 27-28. (in German) View Quote

Finger, Ehrhard (1998): Die Pioniere des Wolfener Farbfilms. In: Industrie- und Filmmuseum Wolfen e. V. (ed.), Die Filmfabrik Wolfen. Aus der Geschichte, Heft 2, pp. 16-17. (in German) View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1931): Interferenzerscheinungen an Linsenrasterfilmen. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, 2, 1931, pp. 111-117. (in German) View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1933): Auflösungsvermögen und Farbwiedergabe in der Farbrasterphotographie. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, 3, 1933, pp. 188-207. (in German) View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1935): Wesen und Anwendungen des Linsenrasters. In: Veröffentlichungen des wissenschaftlichen Zentral-Laboratoriums der photographischen Abteilung Agfa, 4, 1935, pp. 151-176. (in German) View Quote

Heymer, Gerd (1943): Die neuere Entwicklung der Farbphotographie. In: Ergänzungswerk zum Handbuch der wissenschaftlichen und angewandten Photographie. Wien: Julius Springer 1943, pp. 337-463, on p. 397, p. 399. (in German) View Quote

Koshofer, Gert (1966): Fünfundzwanzig Jahre deutscher Farbenspielfilm. In: Film – Kino – Technik, 20,10, 1966, pp. 259-262, on pp. 259-260. (in German) View Quote

Contemporary Reception

Eggert, John (1932): Kurzer Überblick über den Stand der Farbenkinematographie. In: John Eggert and Arpad von Biehler: Bericht über den VIII. Internationalen Kongress für wissenschaftliche und angewandte Photographie, Dresden 1931, Leipzig: J. A. Barth, pp. 214-222, on pp. 218-220. (in German) View Quote