Trichromatic vision

Theory: Color vision
Theory of trichromatic vision proposed by Thomas Young.

Color theory

Additive 3 color: Additive 3 color, still photography
“In a lecture on the theory of three primary colors, given at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on May 17, 1861, Maxwell presented the first demonstration of a photograph in color. According to the records of that meeting (Maxwell, 1890c, ...
  • CoePhotography_Maxwell.jpg

1 Image

Proposal of a variety of processes of three-color photography

Theory: still photography
“Louis Ducos du Hauron is reported to have become interested in the reproduction of colors by photography in 1859, when he was twentyone years old (Potonniée, 1939). In 1862 he submitted to a friend of his family, M. Lelut, a paper embodying ...
  • Coote (1993)

2 Images

Proposal of a variety of processes of three-color photography

Theory
Description of a variety of color processes, even for images in motion by the use of a rotary shutter.

Orthochromatic stock

b/w photography: Orthochromatic b/w stock
“In 1873 Dr Vogel discovered that by adding dyes to the sensitive material, its sensitivity could be extended, so that it would record green as well as blue. The new ‘orthochromatic’ plates were available commercially from 1882. The ...
  • Pathé Manual (1926)

2 Images

  • Pénichon (2013)

1 Image

Hydrotypie / Hydrotype / dye transfer

Subtractive 3 color: Dye transfer, still photography
“In the imbibition process, a dye image is transferred from a gelatin relief image to a receiving layer made either of paper or film. Charles Cros described this method of “hydrotypie” transfer printing in 1880 and suggested it ...

Sensitizing theory

Color theory
“Dr. H. W. Vogel, the discoverer of colour sensitizers, made three-colour photography possible, and has been the first to recognise the relation between colour sensitiveness of plate and printing colour in the following principle made known in ...

Silver dye-bleach

Subtractive 3 color: Dye-bleach
“Probably the first use of the catalytic property of silver was in 1889, when E. Howard Farmer disclosed the action of a silver image upon strong dichromate solutions (Eng. P. 17773/89). When a plate or film, containing a silver image, is immersed ...

Chromolithography

Widely used in print media around 1900, the chromolithographic printing process was first adapted for the Laterna Magica and then utilized to produce early animated films primarily aimed at children. These films were usually very short ...
  • Chromolithographic Loops

93 Images in 2 Galleries

Lippmann

Direct color photography: Interference, still photography
“In 1891, Professor Gabriel Lippmann demonstrated to the French Académie des Sciences interference colour photographs of the spectrum and of stained glass windows, taken by a modification of Wiener’s method. An exceedingly fine grained, ...
  • CoePhotography_Lippmann.jpg

5 Images

Hand coloring

Applied colors: Manual application
Coloring of individual frames by the use of very fine brushes. The process was previously applied to lantern slides. Any water based translucent dye was suited for the process, most often the colors were acid dyes. The process was very time-consuming ...
  • Métamorphoses du papillon (1904)

66 Images in 6 Galleries

Chromogenic development

Subtractive 3 color: Chromogenic development

Lenticular Screen

Additive 3 color: Lenticular screen
“Every element of a cross-lined screen acts as a pinhole camera, and reproduces an image of the aperture of the objective in whose rear focal plane it is placed. Thus, when using a square stop, the dots in the halftone produced will be square ...
  • Steinbacher Ede Lenticular Scheme

4 Images

Toning / metallic toning (French: virage, German: Tonung)

Applied colors: Replacement of silver
In contrast to tinting, toning is not the simple immersion of a film into a dye bath but involves a chemical reaction converting the silver image. In this reaction the neutral silver image in the emulsion of the positive film is replaced by one ...
  • Pathé Manual (1926)

463 Images in 21 Galleries

Tinting

Applied colors: Dyed gelatin
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 ...
  • Flueckiger_AgfaKinehandbuch

1058 Images in 33 Galleries

Joly

Additive 3 color: Line screen process, still photography
“In 1894 Professor John Joly of Dublin patented a process for producing a screen of red, green and blue-violet lines by ruling them on a gelatin-coated glass plate. Joly used ruling machines of great accuracy, with drawing pens trailed across ...
  • Photomicrograph

7 Images

Theory of three-color photography

Theory
  • Theory of three-color photography (1897)

10 Images

Isensee

Additive 3 color: Rotary filter
“The first patent that has been found was granted to H. Isensee and he placed in front of the lens, both in taking and projection, a rotary shutter with three 120 degrees sectors in the usual colors.” (Wall, E.J. (1925): The History of ...
  • Isensee_Patent_illustration.jpg

2 Images

Lascelles Davidson

Additive 3 color: Rotary filter
“Apparently, associated with W. Friese-Greene, in the same year, Captain William Norman Lascelles-Davidson, also of Brighton, patented a triple lens motion picture camera (E.P. 23,863, 1898). The colour filters revolved either behind the lenses, ...
  • LascellesDavidson_EP13468

1 Image

Friese-Greene

Additive 3 color: Alternately stained
“In 1898 William Friese-Greene, a professional portrait photographer by trade, demonstrated in London “the first process of true natural-color cinematography.” His program consisted of “a series of animated natural-color pictures,” and ...
  • Friese-Greene Reflection

12 Images in 2 Galleries

Lee and Turner

Additive 3 color: Rotary filter
“Frederick Marshall Lee, of Walton, and Edward Raymond Turner, of Hounslow, to whom is usually accorded the credit of achieving the first practical results in additive projection. Their experimental work was financed by Charles Urban, a ...
  • Coote (1993)

16 Images in 1 Gallery

Bi-pack

Subtractive 2 color: Bi-pack, still photography
A. Gurtner (Eng. P. 7924/03; U.S.P. 730454), used a front element that was sensitive only to the blue, and a rear element that was sensitive up to but not including the red. He was the first person to suggest that the two films or plates be placed ...
  • Gurtner_Bipack.jpg

1 Image

Krayn

Additive 3 color: Line screen and mosaic, still photography
“Another method of producing a line screen was patented in 1904 by the German Robert Krayn, and was demonstrated by him in November 1907. Krayn stained very thin celluloid sheets red, green and blue, and cemented them interleaved to form a thick ...
  • Coe (1981)

7 Images

Monopack stripping

Subtractive 3 color: Monopack, stripping, still photography
“To offset the possible effects of poor contact between the various members of the tripack, J. H. Smith coated the emulsions directly one on top of the other, but with an insulating layer of collodion between them. In this manner there was ...
  • JohnHSmith_StrippingFilm.jpg

1 Image

Pathécolor / Pathéchrome / stencil coloring

Applied colors: Stencil, dyed gelatin
Stencil coloring required the manual cutting, frame by frame, of the area which was to be tinted onto another identical print, one for each color. Usually the number of colors applied ranged from 3 to 6. The process was highly improved by the ...
  • L'Amour d'esclave (1907)

988 Images in 44 Galleries

Pinatype / Pinatypie

Subtractive 3 color: Dye transfer, still photography
“In the imbibition process, a dye image is transferred from a gelatin relief image to a receiving layer made either of paper or film. Charles Cros described this method of “hydrotypie” transfer printing in 1880 and suggested it ...
  • Pinatypie_cyan-magenta.jpg

4 Images

Jumeaux/Davidson

Additive 3 color: Prism
  • Mannoni_Jumeaux_film_trichrome_fragment.jpg

2 Images

Tinting by application of varnish

Applied colors: Tinting
Very little information is available on this very rare process. Instead of immersion into a dye-bath the positive print was coated uniformly with a varnish. This technique can be identified by the lack on dyes in the perforation area and by the ...
  • CherchiUsai_TintingVarnished_1905.jpg

1 Image

Prism

Additive 3 color: Prism
  • Pfenninger_1905_Wall_1925_fig159

1 Image

Katachromie

Subtractive 3 color: Monopack silver dye-bleach, still photography
Karl Schinzel proposed a multi-layered monopack for still photography, based on the principle of the dye-bleach process which was later elaborated to a practical application with Gasparcolor.

Traube / Diachromie

Subtractive 3 color: Mordant toning, still photography
“In the imbibition process, a dye image is transferred from a gelatin relief image to a receiving layer made either of paper or film. Charles Cros described this method of “hydrotypie” transfer printing in 1880 and suggested it ...

Predecessor of Kinemacolor

Additive 2 color: Rotary filter
“Then we come upon the name of George Albert Smith, F.R.A.S., of Laboratory Lodge, Roman Crescent, Southwick, Brighton, who in E.P. 26,671, of 1906, patented the method which eventually was commercialized as Kinemacolor. In this patent he ...

Dye coupling

Subtractive 3 color: Chromogenic monopack
“One of the most elegant solutions to the problem of forming a colored image, lies in the utilization of the products formed by the action of the developer upon the latent image. By this means there is formed a dye image whose intensity follows ...
  • Pénichon (2013)

1 Image

Autochrome

Additive 3 color: Mosaic screen, still photography
“The Autochrome process was the first fully practical single-plate colour process to reach the photographic public. It was easy to use. The plate was loaded into a conventional holder, glass to the front. The exposure was made through a yellow ...
  • Photomicrograph

16 Images

Kinemacolor

Additive 2 color: Rotary filter
Kinemacolor was the most successful of the so called natural color processes in early cinema. It flourished between 1908 and 1913. However, the principle of recording color separations with revolving shutter filters was first proposed by the German ...
  • Kinemacolor_Pritchard.jpg

18 Images in 2 Galleries

Dufay / Dioptichrome Plate (sometimes incorrectly referenced as Dioptochrome)

Additive 2-4 color: Line screen plate (réseau), still photography and early experiments with film
(see detail page on Dufaycolor)
  • Coote (1993)

10 Images

Berthon

Additive 3 color: Lenticular screen
“R. Berthon patented the use of a lens diaphragm with three apertures, covered respectively with red, green and blue-violet filters, and a sensitive surface on a support, the other side of which was impressed with hemi-spherical, transparent, ...
  • Steinbacher (2013)

4 Images

Procédé Colombier

Subtractive 3 color: Tri-pack
“M. F. de Colombier appears to have been the first to suggest the application of this system to cinematography, and like so many French patents it is a little indefinite in phraseology. Three films were employed representing the same view and ...

Mordant toning / dye toning

Applied colors: Silver replacement by mordanting
Mordant toning or dye toning is a special case of toning whereby the silver image is replaced by colored compounds. Soluble dyes attach to a colorless (silver ferrocyanide) or nearly colorless (silver iodide) silver salt obtained by bleaching. Dye ...
  • Pathé Manual (1926)

132 Images in 5 Galleries

Bassani

Additive 3 color: Successive exposure, 72 fps
“Camera.—An interesting camera has been made by the Société Chromofilm, Paris. An astonishing mechanism moves the entire gate, and film within it, at each exposure, with reference to the normal fixed objective. Three miniature negatives are ...
  • cornwell_clyne_bassani.jpg

1 Image

Audibert

Additive 3 color: Prism
“R. Berthon and M. Audibert patented a method of obtaining a virtual image by means of an anterior lens and prisms or mirrors. This idea was further improved upon in E.P. 17,023, 1913. In F.P. 458,040 Audibert proposed to use a negative front lens ...
  • Mannoni_Audibert_film_lumière_trichrome_1911

2 Images

Chromogenic film stock

Subtractive 3 color: Chromogenic monopack

Biocolour

Additive 2 color: Alternately stained images
“Inevitably, the success of Kinemacolor led to the appearance of imitations. One company, Friese Greene Patents Ltd had been formed in 1908 to exploit several patents, mostly impractical, filed by Friese Greene. From this came a new company, ...
  • Coe (1981)

18 Images in 1 Gallery

Colorgraph / Cinecolorgraph

Subtractive 2 color: Beam-splitter, double-coated film
“The principle of the subtractive colour process was described first by Louis Ducos du Hauron in 1868. Although eminently suitable for colour motion pictures, the principle could not be applied until means were found of producing several colour ...
  • Colorgraph_HernandezMejia_Ryan_1977_fig31.jpg

1 Image

Gaumont Chronochrome

Additive 3 color: Sawn-off lenses and filters, simultaneous taking and projection
“The competition between Kinemacolor and other rival systems was partially stimulated by a Utopian faith in the potential of film technology to achieve ‘natural colour’, reality ‘as it is’ being the goal of the cinematic ...
  • Mannoni_GaumontChronochrome_Gaumont_b.jpg

11 Images in 1 Gallery

Colcin

Additive 2 color: Simultaneous 1 strip
“The first two-colour additive method in which the two components were taken and projected simultaneously was the Colcin process, in 1913. The result of a Franco-Japanese collaboration, it was demonstrated at the International Kinematographic ...
  • Coe (1981)

1 Image

Biochrom

Additive 3 color: Double-sized film, rotary filter

Cinechrome

Additive 2 color: Prism, rotary filter, double-sized film
“[…] pictures were taken side by side, full-size, on double-width film, the film not only being perforated on the edges but also down the centre between the pairs of images.” (Klein, Adrian Bernhard = Cornwell-Clyne (1940): Colour ...
  • Cinechrome Colour Test with Soap Boxes and Packets (1920)

3 Images

Brewster

Subtractive 2 color: Perforated mirror as beam-splitter, duplitized film
“Following the premises of one of William Friese-Greene’s systems, this two-colour subtractive process required that two reels of film be printed in parallel through a lens fitted with a prism that split light in two directions, through red ...