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World's first color film discovered after 110 years

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/14/2012 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Discovery found in Britain's national Media Museum in old tin

Early films of the Silent Era on occasion were tinted by hand, giving them a novelty to the black-and-white photography. It was only in the 1930s that popular film began experimenting with the two-and-three strip Technicolor process that audiences began enjoying color film. Now -- the world's first color moving pictures, dating from 1902 have been found by the National Media Museum in Bradford after lying forgotten in an old tin for 110 years.

The previously unknown history of 'Edwardian color cinema' moved to Brighton, where Turner shot the test films in 1902. His research into this discovery ended that very year when he was felled by a heart attack in 1903.

The previously unknown history of "Edwardian color cinema" moved to Brighton, where Turner shot the test films in 1902. His research into this discovery ended that very year when he was felled by a heart attack in 1903.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
9/14/2012 (5 years ago)

Published in Movies

Keywords: Color film, Great Britain, Edwardian age, National Media Museum


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The newly-discovered films were made by filmmaker Edward Raymond Turner from London who patented his color process on 22 March 1899.

The previously unknown history of "Edwardian color cinema" moved to Brighton, where Turner shot the test films in 1902. His research into this discovery ended that very year when he was felled by a heart attack in 1903. 

Restored by the National Media Museum, the film is being shown to audiences for the first time.

Bryony Dixon, curator of silent film at the British Film Institute National Archives, says the 1902 footage has momentous historical significance.

"There's something about watching film in color that deceives you into believing it's more real, so to see this from 110 years ago adds something very substantial . It's really quite beautiful."

Some of the footage features Turner's children in the garden of their home in Hounslow.

The reason it has taken so long to actually view it is the film's "strange" format.

A special gate has been constructed in which to project the film. "It's 38 and a bit millimeters, which is larger than the standard 35mm, and it wouldn't work on any of the 35mm machines.

"You project it through a spinning wheel, that's what creates the color effect using a successive frame system."

Specially-made gate, a mechanical device in projectors had to be built.

"Because it was a non-standard size we couldn't just take it somewhere and have it printed, so we decided to make our own gate," Pritchard said.

"The idea was that we would move the frame by hand one at a time and just copy each frame separately."

Historians point out that Great Britain was at the forefront of rushing to be the first nation to perfect color film. France and the United States would eventually beat out Britain for that honor, but the discovery of this early effort speaks volumes for the tenacity of English technicians. "They knew color film was going to be very desirable and there was a big commercial incentive."

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