Watch the World's First Color Films—Shot in 1902

More

"A little bit of history has been rewritten," Michael Harvey, the Curator of Cinematography at the U.K.'s National Media Museum, explains. British photographer Edward Raymond Turner patented color motion picture film in 1899, but the credit for the first fully functional system went to George Albert Smith's Kinemacolor in 1906. Researchers at the National Media Museum recently discovered that Turner had in fact shot a few rolls of color film that were languishing in the museum's archives and set out to see if they worked.

Turner's ingenious process shot three successive frames through red, green, and blue filters, and then projected them on top of each other to create a full-color image. The short documentary below reveals how these 110-year old rolls of film were restored, transferred to standard 35mm film, and blended digitally. The simple home movies are just brief shots of Turner's children and animals, a parrot and a goldfish, but the colors are beautiful. You can see that the overlap isn't perfect, especially in parts of the frame with a lot of movement, because of the different color frames were shot in sequence. This creates the rainbow you see when the little boy brandishes the sunflower, for example. 

For more background on the discovery, see the National Media Museum's site

Via Petapixel and Digital Trends

Jump to comments

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In