Technicolor No. III


The third Technicolor process used the same camera as process no. II to combine a pair of frames of the red and green record respectively on the b/w negative (see image). In contrast to the former process, however, the two images were printed on one side of the positive by the dye transfer or imbibition process.

For the dye transfer, again matrices were prepared by hardening the gelatin with a tanning developer and washing away the soft portions of the gelatin. These wash-off reliefs were then dyed with the complementary hues in green-blue and red-orange respectively. In the actual imbibition process the dyes were transferred by contact onto a blank film which was specially prepared to absorb the color and to prevent it from bleeding.

While this process was very sophisticated in terms of mechanical precision, it was still a two-color process and as such it was not able to display the whole range of colors (see images).

Nevertheless it was an economic success when in the wake of the transition to sound many producers also started to shoot in color at the end of the 1920s. In addition the Technicolor company launched a publicity campaign in fan magazines to support the acceptance of color films. However, the company was not able to handle the sudden huge demand without compromising the quality. Thus after a short peak in color production at the turn to the 1930s the number of films declined very fast again.

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