Earliest moving colour pictures discovered and brought to life


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The Independent Culture

The earliest moving pictures in colour, filmed by the cinema pioneer Edward Turner, have been discovered after more than a century.

The footage, shot in 1901, which includes soldiers marching through London, a goldfish, a red macaw and a group of children believed to be Turner's, was found in the archives of the National Media Museum in Bradford.

The delicate film was converted into digital files with the help from experts at the BFI National Archive.

In 1899, Turner had patented his technique of filming through red, green and blue filters and superimposing the frames on to each other. Film historians had long thought Turner's technique was a failure and he died in 1903, 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 goes on show at the National Media Museum in Bradford today.