Technicolor No. II


The first subtractive 2 color process introduced by Technicolor captured the incoming light through a beam splitter with red and green filters also. However, in contrast to the first Technicolor process, the two b/w images were recorded on one negative strip. This was achieved by the pull-down of two frames simultaneously, a process that required the double speed in the camera. These two frames were arranged in pairs, whereby the green record was inverted up-side down (see image).

These two images were then step-printed onto two positives. A tanning process hardened the silver image. In the following step the soft portions were washed away. The relief matrices were then glued together and the opposite sides of the film dyed red-orange and blue-green respectively.

Although the first film shot in this process, The Toll of the Sea (1922) was a huge commercial success, the system encountered many practical difficulties. The cemented film tended to be scratched more easily and more noticeably and even more so it curled as a result of irregular shrinking caused by the heat in the projector. In addition, the costs were very high and Technicolor faced difficulties to deliver on time due to their limited capacities. Only very few feature films were shot entirely in color. More often, the films contained short scenes in Technicolor while the rest of the films were dyed by the usual applied processes (see list of films on this page).

In the course of time Technicolor II prints fade to orange.

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Original Technical Papers and Primary Sources

Troland, Leonard T. (1927): Some Psychological Aspects of Natural Color Motion Pictures. In: Transactions of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 11, 26.9.1927, pp. 680–698, on pp. 695–696. View Quote

Secondary Sources

Alt, Dirk (2011): “Der Farbfilm marschiert!” Frühe Farbfilmverfahren und NS-Propaganda 1933-1945. München: Belleville, on pp. 42–43. (in German) View Quote

Basten, Fred E. (1980): Glorious Technicolor. The Movies’ Magic Rainbow. South Brunswick: Barnes, on pp. 29–36. View Quote

Behlmer, Rudy (1964): Technicolor. In: Films in Review, 15,6, pp. 333–351, on pp. 337–342. View Quote

Bordwell, David; Staiger, Janet; Thompson, Kristin (1985): The Classical Hollywood Cinema. Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. London: Routledge, on p. 353 View Quote and on p. 355. View Quote

Brown, Simon (2012): Technical Appendix. In: Sarah Street: Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 259-287, on pp. 284-286 (all Technicolor processes). View Quote

Cherchi Usai, Paolo (2000): Silent Cinema. London: BFI, p. 38. View Quote

Coe, Brian (1981): The History of Movie Photography. Westfield, N.J.: Eastview Editions, p. 132. View Quote

Cornwell-Clyne, Adrian [= Adrian Klein] (1951): Colour Cinematography. London: Chapman & Hall, 3rd edition, pp. 451-479 (all Technicolor processes).

Everett, Wendy (2007): Mapping Colour. An Introduction to the Theories and Practices of Colour. In: Wendy Everett (ed.): Questions of Colour in Cinema. From Paintbrush to Pixel. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 7–38, on p. 20. View Quote

Haines, Richard W. (1993): Technicolor Movies. The History of Dye Transfer Printing. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, pp. 4-7. View Quote

Happé, Bernard (1984): 80 Years of Colour Cinematography. London: British Kinematograph Sound & Television Society, p. 8. View Quote

Herring, Robert (1935): Technicolossal. In: Life and Letters Today, 13, Sep., pp. 194–196, on p. 194. View Quote

Higgins, Scott (2000): Demonstrating Three-Colour Technicolor. Early Three-Colour Aesthetics and Design. In: Film History, 12,4, pp. 358–383, on pp. 358–359. View Quote

Kalmus, Herbert T. (1938): Technicolor Adventures in Cinemaland. In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 31,6, 1938, pp. 564-585, on pp. 566-571. View Quote

Kitsopanidou, Kira (2009): “Glorious Technicolor”. La stratégie d’innovation de la couleur de Technicolor dans l’industrie cinématographique Américaine. In: Raphaëlle Costa de Beauregard (ed.): Cinéma et couleur. Paris: M. Houdiard, pp. 193–206, on p. 194. (in French) View Quote

Koshofer (1993): Seit 75 Jahren Technicolor-Filme. In: Film & TV Kameramann, 42,1, 1993, pp. 24-34, on p. 24. (in German) View Quote

Layton, James; Pierce, David (2015): The Dawn of Technicolor. Rochester: George Eastman House, on p. 85 View Quote, on pp. 99–102 View Quote, on pp. 109–110 View Quote, on p. 112 View Quote, on p. 114 View Quote, on p. 123 View Quote, on p. 124 View Quote, on pp. 125–126 View Quote, on p. 135 View Quote, on pp. 155–156 View Quote and on p. 264. View Quote

Mees, C. E. Kenneth (1937): The Development of the Art and Science of Photography in the Twentieth Century. In: Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, 28,1, pp. 3–20, on p. 13. View Quote

Neale, Steve (1985): The Beginnings of Technicolor. In: Angela Dalle Vacche and Brian Price (eds.): Color. The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 13-23, on pp. 14-15 View Quote and on p. 18. 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. 210-217 View Quote and pp. 220-224. View Quote

Penning, Lars (1988): Farbe im klassischen Piratenfilm. In: Karl-Dietmar Möller-Nass, Hasko Schneider and Hans J. Wulff (eds.): 1. Film- und Fernsehwissenschaftliches Kolloquium. Münster: MAkS, pp. 36–40, on pp. 36–37. (in German) View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2012): La seduzione dello spettro. Storia e cultura del colore nel cinema. Genova: Le Mani-Microart, on pp. 126–127. (in Italian) View Quote

Pierotti, Federico (2016): Un’archeologia del colore nel cinema italiano. Dal Technicolor ad Antonioni. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, on pp. 31–32. (in Italian) 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 p. 21–22. (in French) View Quote

Ruedel, Ulrich (2009): The Technicolor Notebooks at the George Eastman House. In: Film History, 21,1, 2009, pp. 47-60, on p. 49. View Quote

Ryan, Roderick T. (1977): A History of Motion Picture Color Technology. London: Focal Press, pp. 78-79. View Quote

Street, Sarah (2012): Colour Films in Britain. The Negotiation of Innovation 1900-55. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, on p. 37 View Quote and on pp. 37–38. View Quote

Contemporary Reception

Anonymous (1924): The Shadow Stage. A Review of the New Pictures. Wanderer of the Wasteland. In: Photoplay, 26,3, p. 49. View Quote

Anonymous (1926): The Shadow Stage. A Review of the New Pictures. The Black Pirate. In: Photoplay, 29,6, p. 48. View Quote