Earliest colour moving pictures rediscovered
Wednesday 12 September 2012
The earliest colour moving pictures ever made have been rediscovered after more than 100 years and will go on show in a new exhibition.
The footage, made by cinematic pioneer Edward Turner in around 1901, was found in the archives of the National Media Museum in Bradford and with the help of experts at the BFI National Archive was transformed into watchable digital files.
It includes footage of a Macaw, soldiers marching through London and a group of children believed to be Turner's young family.
Film historians had long thought Turner's technique, which involved filming through red, green and blue filters and superimposing the frames on top of each other, was a failure.
The inventor patented his idea in 1899 with his financial backer Frederick Lee but died four years later aged 29 before he could take full advantage of it.
The museum's curator of cinematography Michael Harvey said: "We sat in the editing suite entranced as full-colour shots made 110 years ago came to life on the screen.
"The image of the goldfish was stunning: its colours were so lifelike and subtle.
"Then there was a macaw with brilliantly coloured plumage, a brief glimpse of soldiers marching and, most interestingly, young children dressed in Edwardian finery.
"I realised we had a significant find on our hands.
"We had proved that the Lee and Turner process worked."
The footage will go on show at the National Media Museum in Bradford from tomorrow.
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