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Kesdacolor

Description

”The process as illustrated in USP 1431309 was a two-color additive process, but it is stated that it could be a three- or four-color process. For the original photography, the negative was exposed through a line screen composed of alternate bands of red and green filters. The film was advanced two frames at a time, one frame containing the picture image and one frame containing an image of one color of the line screen. The image of the screen was formed by a supplementary lens located above the picture-forming lens. This lens was fitted with a filter and a right-angle mirror or prism above the base of which was placed a diffusing surface.

After exposure the negative was developed in a normal black and white developer, fixed, washed and dried. At this point in the process it contained alternate frames of picture and a record of one color of the screen, leaving the area of the other section of the screen clear. Prints were made on duplitized positive film. The picture was printed on one side and the screen on the other. The lines of the screen opposite the red color record lines of the picture printed in black on the positive; these lines were bleached and toned red with a uranium toner. The alternate lines which were clear on the positive were dyed green-blue by using the dye known as Acid Green L. The final print is composed of a picture made up of banded red and green records on one side and a banded red and green filter on the other side.”

(Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 34-35.)

”Thus, Kelley had improved upon his previous processes in several important ways. Kesdacolor, employing its own “red and green filter” directly on one side of the release prints, did not require any attachments (such as color filter disks) to standard projectors. Furthermore, by using duplitized film stock which could combine both frames of the camera negative into one, Kelley was able to introduce a color process which could be run at the standard projection speed of 16 frames per second. Besides total compatibility with standard projection machines, Kesdacolor required no additional footage for its release prints. Thus, parity had almost been reached with standard black and white cinematography. (The additional footage required for principal photography and the extra cost of duplitized film stock for prints were regarded as negligible.)

A 50-foot long short in Kesdacolor was shown at both the Roxy and Rialto Theaters in New York City on September 12, 1918.19 The subject was the American Flag. No advance publicity regarding this screening was given, and it appears as though no additional productions were made with the Kesdacolor process. According to Klein ‘shortly after the success of this showing, Kelley returned to the Prizma Company, which was reorganized.’”

19 Major Adrian Bernard Klein [=Cornwell-Clyne], Colour Cinematography (London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1939), p. 19.

(Nowotny, Robert A. (1983): The Way of All Flesh Tones. A History of Color Motion Picture Processes, 1895-1929. New York: Garland Pub, pp. 163-167.)

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Secondary Sources

Huntley, John (1949): British Technicolor Films. Cornhill, London: Skelton Robinson, on p. 17. View Quote

Klein, Adrian Bernhard (Cornwell-Clyne) (1940): Colour Cinematography. Boston: American Photographic Pub. Co., pp. 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. 163-167. View Quote

Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 34-35. View Quote

Theisen, W.E. (1935): William Van Doren Kelley (1876-1934). In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 24, March 1935, pp. 275-277, on pp. 276. View Quote

Theisen, Earl (1936): Notes On The History Of Color Motion Pictures. In: The International Photogtapher, 8,5, June 1936, pp. 8-9 and p. 24, on p. 8-9. View Quote