Technicolor No. I


During the capturing of the film a beam-splitter in combination with filters in the camera divided the incoming light into a red and a green separation negative on black-and-white stock. When projected in the cinema the two images were combined simultaneously by additive mixture through corresponding red and green filters into one picture consisting of red and green colored light. The reduction of the whole color range to two colors (and their additive combinations) was necessary because of the complex optical arrangement.

The first Technicolor process was similar to Kinemacolor, the commercially most successful additive process in early film. To avoid the heavy color fringing which was due to time parallax in the Kinemacolor process by successive recording of the color separations, Technicolor invented a beam-splitter. Thus the red and the green record were taken at the same time from the same point of view. In practice, however, it proved to be very difficult to align the two images during projection.

The disappointing experience with this process led to the decision by Technicolor to abandon additive processes and to switch to subtractive ones. The beam-splitter was the most important invention of Technicolor process No. 1 and all the successive color processes invented by Technicolor relied on this optical system.

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Secondary Sources

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Contemporary Reception

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