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Lee and Turner’s 1899 Color Process

September 18th, 2012 · No Comments · Color films, Technology

Britain’s National Media Museum has posted the results of their restoration of what they claim to be the world first color moving pictures, which were patented by photographer Edward Turner and his financial backer Frederick Marshall Lee in 1899, which is embedded above. The details are briefly explained here.

The process, which seems to anticipate the original three-color Technicolor process — in particular the successive exposure method used for animated films — seemed to have been unworkable. The Museum’s restoration really doesn’t prove otherwise, and I suspect that George Albert Smith, who was asked by Charles Urban to perfect the process, was right to suggest abandoning it in favor of his simpler two-color Kinemacolor system, which had some popularity. Nevertheless, the results of the restoration are fascinating to say the least.

(Thanks to Paul Fierlinger via Karl Cohen.)

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