as Technicolor one designates first economically successful color film - the procedure.

Table of contents

function mode

with the Technicolor procedure is already split up the light during the photograph by a prism into the basic colours and noted in each case on its own film; these stencil films become then for the projectionable copy in the Dye transfer - procedure copies.

See also: Eastmancolor, Kodachrome


the enterprise Kalmus, Comstock & Westcott was created in the year 1912 by the respective persons. In the beginnings the enterprise obtained its economic success in the polishing agent industry. Harsh ore T. Kalmus and its partners developed an interest in alive nature color film processes, in order to produce a film system without flickering. After regarding some short photographs of the new camera technology the enterprise lawyer and capital investor William Coolidge invested 10,000 $ into the company. Thus in November 1915 the Technicolor film combination was created. The name Technicolor was derived from its co-operation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Technicolor system 1 (1917-1922)

the Technicolor system 1 was the first color process of the enterprise. It was similar a two-color additive process to the Kinemacolor at that time, but with two relatively important differences: On the one hand the Technicolor camera did not note the red and bluish green pictures at the same time, on the other hand is necessary the use of the rotary Farbrades in the camera and in the cinema projector any longer. One notes, as the light is led after going through the camera objective into a special prism. The prism divides the light into two parts, which are passed on to the individual color filters. A part of the light goes through a red, the other part a bluish green filter, afterwards the filtered light portions on the film strip is noted. The film pressure was a conventional black-and-white recording, which needed a special cinema projector with two Blendenöffnungen and objectives with the respective color filters, in order to be able to show the film.

Owing to this system one was now able to present pleasant colors on a canvas. Apart from the Farbtreue worse in relation to later three-color systems a large disadvantage was at this system that one needed a special cinema projector. Thus the premiere of the first film in Technicolor became in the year 1917, The Gulf Between, to a large disappointment, since the motion picture film before leader did not create it, the two cinema projector prisms in such a way to adjust that the two color pictures on the canvas lay correctly one above the other.

Kalmus and its team

the Technicolor system 2 brought Technicolor system to 2 (1922-1927) in the year 1922 on the market. The system was improved in such a way that the camera and the prism system had only little similarity with the first system of Technicolor. The camera took up now the pictures with 32 pictures in the second, each second carried red or bluish green picture information. The most substantial difference to the previous system was the use of a subtraktiven color process. Additives of systems used black-and-white pictures, which were through projected by color filters, which resulted in a small luminous efficiency with the projection. Subtraktive of systems carry however the color information in the film strip, so that the use of filters is no longer necessary. In addition with subtraktiven systems are reproduced more exactly colors.

from the film negative to the final pressure

the film negative carries both the red and the bluish green recordings of the original scene. Now two different pressures are formed on half thickness matrix films. The bluish green recording is the mirror image of the red recording, this is in such a way printed, because after the application of the coloring central bath the two matrix film halves are again built up. The stencil films were very similar to the conventional black-and-white films, contained the usual Silberhalogenide and a special gel layer. Silberhalogenide are used due to their luminous sensivity in the photography. With the development of the film the silver is removed, it remains only the gel layer as a kind outline illustration of the picture. After developing the stencils are put into a coloring central bath of a color, which belongs to the original color recording. As the latter now the two matrix film halves are built up again to a matrix film, in order to form so the final pressure.

history Technicolor system 2

the system brought some advantages with itself, it e.g. solved. , The image definition as well as the color reproduction improved adjustment problems, in addition and it was the first natural color process, which permitted the representation of the film on unmodified standard cinema projectors. Madly OF the Sea was the first film, which in the year 1922 of Joseph give with the new Technicolor system 2 one produced.

1923 could convince Kalmus finally a Filmstudio to produce one of its films with the Technicolor system. In November L signed. Lasky of the Filmstudio Paramount a contract, which made Kalmus possible the rotation of Wanderer OF the Wasteland. Although Paramount with Kalmus had agreed to turn the entire film in Technicolor the budget permitted not much more expenditure than for a monochrome photographic film. The film required Kalmus and its team unusual efforts and many working hours off, but the hard work was worthwhile itself: Wanderer OF the Wasteland was a success and helped the color photography to more attention. But the Filmstudios was despite success yet to one did not transfer to the Technicolor procedure ready, them was still too high the expenditure and the costs of the production of a color film.

In the course of the next years the Cemented Two Color Process was used in approximately two dozen films. The most well-known films are that phantom of the opera (The phantom OF the Opera, 1925) and Ben Hur (Ben Hur: A Tale OF the Christian, 1925). This was however not yet the large break-through, which Kalmus had expected. Douglas fair bank, who estimated the quality of the Technicolor system had learned, committed itself in the year 1926 contractually to produce the silent movie the black Pirat (The Black Pirate, 1926) with the Technicolor system 2. The film required large efforts as vergrössterter recording color film, became however for fair bank a giant success.

it still no experiences

with increased recording color films one gave, discovered there disadvantages of the Technicolor system to 2 now suddenly some errors in the Technicolor system. Since the final pressure consisted of two stuck matrix films, one of the two matrix films was more strongly heated by the arc lamp than the other one. The matrix film, which was now heated, expanded faster than the other one, which pointed to the lens, and so developed a curvature. Re-installation coils had to be thus constantly supplied, in order to be able to present a film.

Technicolor system 3 (1927-1933)

the Technicolor system 3 was very similar to the second system of Technicolor. The camera remained even the same, but the stencil films were produced now optically by the camera, in order to get so another pressure. The new Technicolor system eliminated not only the curvature, which had resulted from the Technicolor system 2, but made possible also the transmission on a particularly broad and clear basic film. Another advantage of this technology was that the film negatives did not have to leave the Technicolor work any longer and so a faster film production were possible.

This color transmission process won not only at theatre customers acknowledgment, but also with some Filmstudios. Thus the production of Technicolor increased in the years 1928 to 1930 clearly, sank however in the years 1931 and 1932 during the world economic crisis. The few spectators, who could afford a cinema attendance, were more than content that their favourite filming acre for it at all still sang and danced.

Technicolor system 4 (1932-1955)

Kalmus and its team developed a new more reliable method for color recording: It permitted one on the other in the form of the coloring transfer of funds pressure to be put in order to obtain so each possible number of colors on a side of the film carrier. In the year 1932 Technicolor brought then the first three-strip camera on the market. The three-strip camera was very expensive for conditions at that time, their price lay with over 30.000 $. The average wages were at that time below 0,50 $ per hour.

the function mode of the three-strip camera

the three-strip camera uses three monochrome photographic films, which are led by a prism with the respective filters. The light, which penetrates through the camera objective, goes through now two prism components: A part of the light goes through the green filter and meets the film. In order to prevent that on a filter more light falls than on the other one, a special mirror between both prisms is fastened, which has a gold-dabbed surface (the gold was replaced later by silver). Now the same light intensity goes through the stomach TA color filter and prevents in such a way that the color green on the red and/or. on the blue film to be conveyed can. The red and blue films behind the Magentafilter are “Bipacked emulsion ton of emulsion “- films. With the front film the emulsion surface is sensitive to blue color contact, and the rear film is sensitive to red color contact. Since the recording of the red film the light must overcome only the blue film, are the pictures on the red and blue films less sharply than the pictures on the green film, the difference is however minimal. In addition the blue film possesses a red-orange colouring on its Emulsionsschicht, which serves and prevents filters as a kind that the blue color reaches the red film. The red film is like the blue film sensitive to blue color contact.

Technicolor system 4

in the year 1932 took lawyer Disney an offer for the new Technicolor system 4 of Kalmus. It stopped a production of the film Flowers and Trees already running and began using the new system again again. The film became a sensation and received from the public and other Filmstudios positive criticisms. Thereupon Kalmus and Disney agreed on a five-annual contract, which secured Disney the use of the new system. The contract had to be reduced however later to an a annual contract, since the other large Filmstudios not so that agreed, to have to use the older Technicolor systems.

The interest of the Filmstudios in the new Technicolor system increased now, and slowly the system was used also in the large film productions. Also the spectators reacted with increasing enthusiasm for the color cinema, which made the Filmstudios possible to gain despite the high costs still profits.

Technicolor today

Technicolor developed since the beginnings of the color film transmission to a global and successful combination of the Unterhaltungsindustrie. Additionally it was established as one of the largest manufacturers and distributors for video cassettes, DVDs and CD-ROM on the world market. In the year 2001 Technicolor made its first digital cinema systems available. It lasted not for a long time, and the first 1000 digital cinema systems were sold to selected cinema operators. In the same year the Technicolor society was bought up by Thomson. In the year 2003 Technicolor opened its own digital rework mechanism in New York. In the proximity of the new mechanism there is a rework laboratory as well as a digital color correction laboratory, around films like e.g. The charmful country (The Wizard OF Oz), the window to the yard (Rear Window), Funny Girl and Apocalypse Now Redux again again to be able to work on with a better image quality. Since the year 2004 Technicolor eleven film laboratories possesses and more than twice as many rework mechanisms in the whole world. Some the most well-known customers of Technicolor only Filmstudios are not such as DreamWorks SKG, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The roll Disney company and Warner Bros. Pictures, but also playing and software producer such as Microsoft, Electronic kind and Atari.


  • Joachim Polzer (Hrsg.): World miracle of the cinematography (6. Edition 2002). Polzer Media Group, potsdam 2002. ISBN 3-934535-20-8 (with longer contribution of Gert Koshofer over Eastman Kodak and Technicolor).
  • Paul Read: A Short History OF Cinema film post office Production (1896 - 2006), in English, in: Joachim Polzer (Hrsg.): To the history of the film copying work. World miracle of the cinematography. Contributions to a culture history of the film technology, 8. Edition April 2006. 336 sides. ISBN 3-934535-26-7
  • Gert Koshofer: 90 years Technicolor, in: Joachim Polzer (Hrsg.): To the history of the film copying work. World miracle of the cinematography. Contributions to a culture history of the film technology. 8. Edition April 2006. 336 sides. ISBN 3-934535-26-7

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