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Technicolor No. I

Description

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

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

Basten, Fred E. (1980): Glorious Technicolor. The Movies’ Magic Rainbow. South Brunswick: Barnes, on pp. 20–24. View Quote

Behlmer, Rudy (1964): Technicolor. In: Films in Review, 15,6, pp. 333–351, on pp. 333–336. View Quote

Bordwell, David; Staiger, Janet; Thompson, Kristin (1985): The Classical Hollywood Cinema. Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Routledge, on p. 353. 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. 284-286 (all Technicolor processes). View Quote

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (2000): Silent Cinema. London: BFI, pp. 37-38. View Quote

Coe, Brian (1981): The History of Movie Photography. Westfield, N.J.: Eastview Editions, on p. 132. View Quote

Everett, Wendy (2007): Mapping Colour. An Introduction to the Theories and Practices of Colour. In: Wendy Everett (ed.): Questions of Colour in Cinema. From Paintbrush to Pixel. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 7–38, on p. 20. View Quote

Fossati, Giovanna (1998): When Cinema Was Coloured. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 121-132, on p. 122. View Quote

Haines, Richard W. (1993): Technicolor Movies. The History of Dye Transfer Printing. Jefferson, North Carolina : McFarland. View Quote

Higgins, Scott (2000): Demonstrating Three-Colour Technicolor. Early Three-Colour Aesthetics and Design. In: Film History, 12,4, pp. 358–383, on pp. 358–359. View Quote

Kalmus, Herbert T. (1938): Technicolor Adventures in Cinemaland. In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 31,6, 1938, pp. 564-585, on pp. 565-566. View Quote

Kitsopanidou, Kira (2009): “Glorious Technicolor”. La stratégie d’innovation de la couleur de Technicolor dans l’industrie cinématographique Américaine. In: Raphaëlle Costa de Beauregard (ed.): Cinéma et couleur. Paris: M. Houdiard, pp. 193–206, on pp. 193–194. (in French) View Quote

Klein, Adrian Bernhard = Cornwell-Clyne (1940): Colour Cinematography. Boston: American Photographic Pub. Co. 2nd revised edition, p. 14. View Quote

Klein, Adrian Bernhard = Cornwell-Clyne (1951): Colour Cinematography. London: Chapman & Hall, pp. 451-479 (all Technicolor processes).

Kuhn, Irene (1937): Rainbow “Round the Screen”. In: Cinema Arts, 1,1, pp. 28–32, on p. 28. View Quote

Layton, James; Pierce, David (2015): The Dawn of Technicolor. Rochester: George Eastman House, on pp. 36–41 View Quote, on p. 59 View Quote, on pp. 70–71 View Quote, on p. 85 View Quote and on p. 114. View Quote

Neale, Steve (1985): The Beginnings of Technicolor. In: Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price (eds.): Color. The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 13-23, on p. 13. 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. 202-210. View Quote

Ruedel, Ulrich (2009): The Technicolor Notebooks at the George Eastman House. In: Film History, Volume 21, Number 1, 2009, pp. 47-60, on p. 49. View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2012): La seduzione dello spettro. Storia e cultura del colore nel cinema. Genova: Le Mani-Microart, on pp. 125–126. (in Italian) View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2016): Un’archeologia del colore nel cinema italiano. Dal Technicolor ad Antonioni. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, on p. 31. (in Italian) View Quote

Contemporary Reception

Bartlett, Randolph; Kelly, Kitty (1917): The Shadow Stage. Reviews of Current Photoplays. The Gulf Between. In: Photoplay, 13,1, p. 118. View Quote

Kelley, William Van Doren (1918): Natural Color Cinematography. In: Transactions of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 7, Nov. 1918, pp. 38–43, on p. 42. View Quote