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World’s Oldest Color Film Discovered

Posted on September 14, 2012
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After being cached in a media archive for over a century, the world’s first colored movie (or “motion picture” as it was called) was shown for the first time Wednesday, according to the National Media Museum in Bradford, England. The film, which was shot by inventor Edward Raymond Turner in 1899, was originally in black and white, but it was only now–through a curator’s research–that its colored significance was also discovered.

During the process of filming, each frame was run through red, green, or blue gels in consecutive order. That process needed to be reversed during projection to reveal the film in color, but it was never done so at the time. The inventor, however, left behind a blueprint of how to do just that. This allowed the institution’s team to replicate the process digitally, producing the final footage.

This method of color gel processing was not done in the early 20th century due to the mechanical complexity. Also, it would have been inferior compared to a chemical process because each frame only has one-third of the full color information.

You can check out the video and see the final, un-retouched, non-handpainted result.

Source: National Media Museum, via Engadget

Image Credit: National Media Museum

 
 

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