fbpx 1a - 1915-1935 (images) | George Eastman Museum

1a - 1915-1935 (images)

1a - 1915-1935 (images)


Banner image



CAPTION: Technicolor’s additive camera (1916) was unlike any other color motion picture camera before it. Designed and constructed by W. Burton Wescott, this camera created its color separations simultaneously through a beam-splitting prism behind the lens, minimizing color distortions. George Eastman House.



CAPTION: The Gulf Between was conceived as a showcase for Technicolor’s additive process. The feature was shot in Jacksonville, Florida, an East Coast filmmaking hub at the time due to its consistent weather and bright sunshine. Filming took place on outdoor stages like this one to ensure there was enough light to obtain adequate exposure. George Eastman House.



CAPTION: The Technicolor engineers documented every stage of their research. These notebooks from 1914-17 offer a rare glimpse into their working practices and shed light onto an otherwise underdocumented period of the company’s history. George Eastman House.



CAPTION: As Technicolor was expensive and unproven with audiences, producers in the 1920s first chose to use the process in short color sequences inserted into black and white films. The comedy Stage Struck (Allan Dwan, Famous Players-Lasky, US 1925) with Gloria Swanson used color in two scenes. Courtesy of Karl Thiede.



CAPTION: Douglas Fairbanks produced and starred in a string of successful swashbuckling adventure films in the 1920s, and became one of Technicolor’s most important clients. With The Black Pirate (1926), he was one of the first filmmakers to take the use of color seriously, arguing that it was “the very theme and flavor of piracy.” George Eastman House.



CAPTION: In 1929, Warner Bros. signed a license to use the Technicolor process on twenty all-color feature films over a one-year period. The first all-color, all-sound film, On With the Show! (1929), and Warner’s follow up The Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), were both huge hits, earning over $4 million cumulatively. George Eastman House.



CAPTION: Because sound recording and editing was still a nascent technology, many early sound films, such as Paris (1929), had to capture songs and music “live” from multiple camera angles. Technicolor cameras were noisy and had to be soundproofed in large boxes, big enough to also contain the operator. George Eastman House.



CAPTION: Technicolor’s two-color process reached its artistic peak in the early 1930s.  First National’s Doctor X (Michael Curtiz, First National Pictures, US 1932) used atmospheric lighting and color effects to enhance its macabre story. Courtesy of Library of Congress.