is a comprehensive resource for the investigation of film color technology and aesthetics, analysis and restoration, developed and curated by Barbara Flueckiger since 2012.
Established in 1935, the BFI National Archive holds one of the largest film and television collections in the world containing nearly a million titles. Using the latest preservation methods, we care for a variety of obsolete formats so that future generations can enjoy the UK’s film heritage.
The Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center acquires, describes, stores, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings.
Founded in 1949, the George Eastman Museum is a world leader in the areas of photography, motion pictures, and their associated technologies. The Moving Image Department holds more than 28,000 films from the entire history of cinema and other materials related to the history, production, and exhibition of moving images.
Founded in 1963, the Deutsche Kinemathek holds a large collection of films, as well as film-related materials such as advertisement material and scripts, photography, scenography, and of film apparatus from the 1900s to the present, and a library. Since 2000, the collections are also shown in a museum for film and television in Berlin.
The Národní filmový archiv / National Film Archive in Prague is one of the ten oldest and largest film archives in the world. It was set up in 1943 and in 1946 it became a member of the International Federation of Film Archives – FIAF. In 1997 it became a founding member of the Association of European Film Archives and Cinematheques, ACE.
Please access detailed information on over 230 individual film color processes via the classification system on this page, display the Timeline of Historical Film Colors in chronological order, search via the tag cloud at the end of this page or directly on the search page.
Tinting was one of the earliest and most widespread techniques to apply colors to film. Each individual black-and-white film positive had to be submerged in dye baths.
Toning, like tinting, was one of the earliest film color techniques. It required a complex chemical procedure to replace the silver with colored compounds or dyes for each individual exhibition print.
Before the introduction of film, hand coloring had long been applied to lantern slides. Colors were applied with tiny brushes to each individual frame of the film.
Stencils were cut out from a positive print to color selected areas of the film frames by the use of brushes or velvet strips.
Two or three images were exposed through colored filters in succession. In projection, the black and white images were filtered again accordingly. The processes required double or triple frame rates.
Two or three images were captured simultaneously through multiple lenses or beam-splitter prisms. The images were either dyed or projected through colored filters.
Regular or irregular patterns of colored stripes or dots in red, blue and green provide a color sensation by additive mixture. Many of the screen processes were introduced in still photography before their redevelopment for film applications.
Printing processes add one to three layers of colors onto the emulsion of a film, most famously in the Technicolor dye-transfer process. The principle had been introduced in photography before the advent of motion pictures.
For many two color and a few three color processes emulsion was applied to both sides of the film and colored independently. The technique was widespread in the early days of subtractive color films from the mid-1910s to the mid-1940s. Often the negatives were bi-packs, two strips of black-and-white film sensitized for different spectra.
In chromogenic monopacks the color-forming substances are either present in several layers in the emulsion or added during film developing later. The basic principle was discovered in 1911 by Rudolf Fischer. Unfortunately the dyes used in these processes proved to be unstable, thus leading to color-fading of the films.
In chromolytic multilayer films the dyes in the emulsion are destroyed at the locus of exposure of the silver halide. The colors are very brilliant and stable. The most famous chromolytic process was Gasparcolor.
You will find here bibliographical information to a variety of topics related to film colors, such as color theory, analysis, aesthetics, narration, culture etc.
Contributions are very welcome.
The category starts with a bibliography about color and animation.