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Tinting

Description

For tinting, the positive print is immersed into a variety of dye baths, scene by scene. To this end, the print has to be cut into the corresponding fragments and reassembled after the dyeing process. The dye homogeneously attaches over the entire image’s gelatin including the perforation area. Usually acid dyes were dissolved in a weak acid solution to form a chemical bond with the gelatin.

Tinting can be identified by the brighter image parts which are colored uniformely while the darker parts remain black. Often, however, the dyes are fading or producing complex color alterations due to their chemical nature, or tinting is combined with toning which makes identification more difficult.

While there were some conventional metaphorical associations such as blue tinting for night scenes or red tinting for fire, these associations were neither stable nor mandatory. Therefore it is necessary to analyse the color scheme in each individual film with regard to its narrative structure unfolding in space and time.

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Original Technical Papers and Primary Sources

Eastman Kodak Company (1916): Eastman Kodak Company, Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film. Rochester, NY. [following editions in 1918, 1922, 1924, and 1927] View Quote

Didiée, L. (1926): Le Film vierge Pathé. Manuel de développement et de tirage. Paris: Pathé, pp. 123-128 View Quote and pp. 139-140. (in French)View Quote

(1925*): Agfa Kine-Handbuch. Berlin: Actien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation, Teil I pp. 79-81; Teil III pp. 7-15. (in German) [* year estimated] View Quote

Secondary Sources

Read, Paul (2009): ‘Unnatural Colours’. An Introduction to Colouring Techniques in Silent Era Movies. In: Film History, 21.1, pp. 9-46, on pp. 9-10 View Quote and pp. 12-13 View Quote, see list of tints on pp. 31-37. View Quote

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (2000): Silent Cinema. London: BFI, pp. 23-27. View Quote

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (1996): The Color of Nitrate. Some Factual Observations on Tinting and Toning Manuals for Silent Films. In: Abel, Richard (Hrsg): Silent Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, pp. 21-30. View Quote

Yumibe, Joshua (2012): Moving Colors. Early Film, Mass Culture, Modernism. New Brunswick et al.: Rutgers University Press, p. 4 View Quote, pp. 76-77 View Quote and pp. 97-101. View Quote

Mazzanti, Nicola (2009): Colours, audiences, and (dis)continuity in the ‘cinema of the second period’ In: Film History, Volume 21, Number 1, 2009, pp. 67-93.

Oliveira, Joao S. de (2002): Black-and-White in Colour. In Roger Smither (ed.): This Film is Dangerous. A Celebration of Nitrate Film. Brussels: FIAF, pp. 117-122, on p. 120. View Quote

(1911): Toning and tinting as an adjunct to the picture. In: Moving Picture World, 8, 18.3.1911, p. 574.

Mabberley, Bob; Read, Paul; Snoek, Sonja (1998): Recording and Reproducing the Original Tints and Tones of Quo Vadis A Technical Case Study. In: Brusatin, Manlio et al (eds.): Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 151-155.

Genaitay, Sonia; Dixon, Bryony (2010): Early Colour Film Restoration at the BFI National Archive. In: Journal of British Cinema and Television, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 131-146.

Christensen, Thomas C. (2009): Restoration of Danish Silent Films – in Colour. In: Film History: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 180-183.

Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 16-19. View Quote

Nowotny, Robert A. (1983): The Way of all Flesh Tones. A History of Color Motion Picture Processes, 1895-1929. New York: Garland Pub., pp. 20-25. View Quote

Gunning, Tom (1996): Colorful Metaphors. The Attraction of Color in Early Silent Cinema. In: Monica Dall’Asta, Guglielmo Pescatore and Leonardo Quaresima (eds.): Il colore nel cinema muto. Bologna: Clueb, on pp. 27-29. View Quote

Valtrovic, Vanja; Dibbets, Karel (1996): Colour in Italian Silent Films. In: Monica Dall’Asta, Guglielmo Pescatore and Leonardo Quaresima (eds.): Il colore nel cinema muto. Bologna: Clueb, on pp. 47-48. View Quote

Ramsaye, Terry (1919): Color photography and the motion picture. In: Photoplay 15, March 1919, pp. 84, 86, on p. 86. View Quote

Brown, Simon (2012): Technical Appendix: Tinting and toning. In: Street, Sarah: Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 286-287. View Quote

Fossati, Giovanna (1998): When Cinema Was Coloured. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 121-132, on pp. 124-125 View Quote, pp. 125-126 View Quote, p. 127 View Quote, p. 128 View Quote and p. 131 View Quote.

Pinel, Vincent (1992): La forêt des techniques. In: Michel Ciment (ed.): Ciné mémoire. Colloque international d’information (7-9 octobre 1991). Paris: Femis, pp. 17-24, on pp. 18-19. (in French) View Quote

Gunning, Tom; Yumibe, Josh; Fossati, Giovanna; Rosen, Jonathon (2015): Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Restoration

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (1996): The Color of Nitrate. Some Factual Observations on Tinting and Toning Manuals for Silent Films. In: Abel, Richard (ed.): Silent Film. New Brunswick : Rutgers University Press, pp. 27-30. View Quote

Oliveira, Joao S. de (2002): Black-and-White in Colour. In Roger Smither (ed.): This Film is Dangerous. A Celebration of Nitrate Film. Brussels: FIAF, pp. 117-122, on p. 120. View Quote

Read, Paul (2009): Digital Restoration and Digital Desmet. In: Film History, 21.1, pp. 27, 28. View Quote

Genaitay, Sonia; Dixon, Bryony (2010): Early Colour Film Restoration at the BFI National Archive. In: Journal of British Cinema and Television, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 131-146.

Christensen, Thomas C. (2009): Restoration of Danish Silent Films – in Colour. In: Film History: An International Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 180-183.

Kross, Annike (2006): Die Simulation von Filmfärbungen und -tonungen nach dem sogenannten Desmet Verfahren. Fachhochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin. [in German, diploma thesis]

Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): Films Coloured by Tinting. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 182-183. View Quote

Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): Original Tinting and Toning Techniques and their Adaptation for the Restoration of Archive Film. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 271-280. View Quote

Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): Using the Original Tinting or Toning Ttechnique on Modern Print Stock. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 193-194. View Quote

Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): Recording and Reproducing the Original Tints and Tones of Quo Vadis (1912): A Technical Case Study. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 281-286. View Quote

Read, Paul; Meyer, Mark-Paul (2000): The Desmet Method for Restoring Tinted and Toned Films. In: Paul Read and Mark-Paul Meyer: Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 287-290. View Quote

Berriatúa, Luciano (1998): Regarding a Catalogue of the Tints Used on the Silent Screen. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 135-139. View Quote

Mabberley, Bob; Read, Paul; Snoek, Sonja (1998): Recording and Reproducing the Original Tints and Tones of Quo Vadis. A Technical Case Study. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 151-155. View Quote

Mazzanti, Nicola (1998): The Colours of the Film d’Arte Italiana. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 141-146. View Quote

Hertogs, Daan; De Klerk, Nico (1996): Disorderly Order. Colours in Silent Film. The 1995 Amsterdam Workshop. Amsterdam: Stichding Nederlands Filmmuseum, on pp. 6-7 View Quote, on pp. 12-14 View Quote, on pp. 18-19 View Quote, on pp. 23-25 View Quote, on pp. 71-76 View Quote and on pp. 87-88. View Quote

Fossati, Giovanna (1996): How to Live with Simulated Colours (and Be Happy). In: Daan Hertogs et al.: Disorderly Order. Colours in Silent Film. The 1995 Amsterdam Workshop. Amsterdam: Stichding Nederlands Filmmuseum. Download

Fossati, Giovanna (2013): Obsolescence and Film Restoration: The Case of Colored Silent Films. In:  Cécile Dazord and Marie-Hélène Breuil (eds.): Conserver l’art contemporain à l’ère de l’obsolescence technologique, TECHNE Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France, pp. 102-106. Download

Fossati, Giovanna (2015): The Archival Life of Early Color Films. Restoration and Presentation. In: Tom Gunning, Josh Yumibe, Giovanna Fossati and Jonathon Rosen (eds.): Fantasia of Color in Early Cinema. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 41-53.

Flueckiger, Barbara (2015): Color Analysis for the Digital Restoration of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari. In: Joshua Yumibe (ed.): Moving Image, 15/1, pp. 22-43 (peer-reviewed) Link to download

Kelly, Sean D. (2012): A Dyeing Art. Research and Documentation as Means of Authenticity in Applied Colour Restoration. (= Master Thesis University of Amsterdam) Download

Ruedel, Ulrich; Currò, Daniela; Op den Kamp, Claudy (2012): Towards a More Accurate Preservation of Color. Heritage, Research and the Film Restoration Laboratory. In: Simon Brown, Sarah Street, Liz Watkins (eds.): Color and the Moving Image. History, Theory, Aesthetics, Archive. New York: Routledge, 2012, pp. 219-229. Download

Contemporary reception

(1911): Toning and tinting as an adjunct to the picture. In: Moving Picture World, 8, 18.3.1911, p. 574.

Ramsaye, Terry (1919): Color photography and the motion picture. In: Photoplay 15, March 1919, pp. 84, 86, on p. 86. View Quote

Fossati, Giovanna (1998): When Cinema Was Coloured. In: Luciano Berriatúa et al.: Tutti i colori del mondo. Il colore nei mass media tra 1900 e 1930. = All the colours of the world. Reggio Emilia: Edizioni Diabasis, pp. 121-132, on pp. 126-131. View Quote

Coustet, Ernest (1921): Le cinéma. Paris: Librairie Hachette, on p. 6 View Quote and on pp. 160-162. (in French) View Quote

Selected analyses

Mazzanti, Nicola (2009): Colours, audiences, and (dis)continuity in the ‘cinema of the second period’ In: Film History, Volume 21, Number 1, 2009, pp. 67-93. [Analysis of Italian art films]

Hertogs, Daan; De Klerk, Nico (1996): Disorderly Order. Colours in Silent Film. The 1995 Amsterdam Workshop. Amsterdam: Stichding Nederlands Filmmuseum, on pp. 39-40 View Quote, on pp. 42-43 View Quote, on pp. 45-46 View Quote and on p.47. View Quote