List of color film systems

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This is a list of color film processes known to have been created for photographing and exhibiting motion pictures in color since the first attempts were made in the late 1890s. It is limited to "natural color" processes, meaning processes in which the color is photographically recorded and reproduced rather than artificially added by hand-painting, stencil coloring, or other arbitrary "colorization" methods.

Legend[edit]

  • Process: the name of the process, as advertised by the company if commercialized. Known alternative names and second-party commercial aliases are also shown.
  • Year: The earliest known year of existence based on patents, reports of demonstrations, etc. The first public showing or commercial use (if any) may be later.
  • Projection method: a classification into one of four process types, plus a notation of how many primary colors were used:
    Additive: multiple black-and-white images photographed through color filters are projected through corresponding filters and united on the screen. The component images may either be projected simultaneously or in rapid succession.
    Subtractive: the color image is physically present as transparent coloring matter in the film. No special projection equipment is required.
    Mosaic (additive): the film incorporates a mosaic of extremely small color filters, allowing a color image to be photographed as one black-and-white image consisting of many microscopically small color-filtered fragments. The same mosaic reconstitutes the color when the film is projected, so no special equipment is needed.
    Lenticular (additive): a black-and-white film which has been embossed on its base side with hundreds or thousands of tiny lenses is used for the original photography, base side forward and in conjunction with a segmented multicolored filter on the camera lens. As in mosaic processes, the result is an array of adjacent microscopic black-and-white image fragments that record the color information. Projection must reverse the optical geometry used for photography, so it requires not only a similar segmented filter but also highly compatible and correctly adjusted projection optics.
  • Inventor: the known inventor(s) of the process.
  • Introductory film: the first known public showing of the process.
Process Year Projection method Inventor(s) Introductory film
Lee-Turner Colour 1899 Additive (3 color) Edward Raymond Turner[1][2] N/A (Experimental) (circa 1902)
Kinemacolor 1906 Additive (2 color) George Albert Smith A Visit to the Seaside (1908)
Warner-Powrie 1906 Mosaic (3 color) John Hutchison Powrie Untitled film (1928)
Biocolour 1908 Additive (3 color) William Friese-Greene The Earl of Camelot (1914)
Keller-Dorian 1908 Lenticular (3 color) Albert Keller-Dorian
Rodolphe Berthon
Unknown
Cinecolorgraph 1912 Subtractive (2 color) A. Hernandez-Mejia Unknown
Brewster Color 1913 Subtractive (2 color) Percy Douglas Brewster Unknown
Chronochrome
aka: Gaumont Color
1913 Additive (3 color) Leon Gaumont Unknown
Prizma (I) 1913 Additive (2 color) William van Doren Kelley Our Navy (1917)
Cinechrome 1914 Additive (3 color) Colin Bennett Prince of Wales in India (1921)
Kodachrome (I) 1916 Subtractive (2 color) John G. Capstaff
Eastman-Kodak
Concerning $1,000
Technicolor (I) 1916 Additive (2 color) Daniel F. Comstock
Herbert Kalmus
W. Burton Wescott
The Gulf Between (1917)
Douglass Color
(Douglass Natural Color)
1918 Additive (2 color) Leon Forrest Douglass Nature Scenes (1918) and Cupid Angling (1918)
Kesdacolor 1918 Subtractive (2 color) William van Doren Kelley
Carroll H. Dunning
American Flag (1918)
Prizma (II) 1918 Subtractive (2 color) William van Doren Kelley The Glorious Adventure (1922)
Zoechrome 1920 Subtractive (3 color) T.A. Mills Unknown
ColorCraft 1921 Subtractive (2 color) W.H. Peck Unknown
Polychromide 1922 Additive (2 color) Aron Hamburger Unknown
Technicolor (II) 1922 Subtractive (2 color) Daniel F. Comstock
Joseph A. Ball
Leonard T. Troland
Jarvis M. Andrews
The Toll of the Sea (1922)
Kelleycolor 1926 Subtractive (2 color) William van Doren Kelley
Max Handschiegl
Unknown
Busch Color 1928 Additive (2 color) Unknown
Harriscolor 1928 Subtractive (2 color) William Van Doren Kelley Unknown
Kodacolor (I) 1928 Lenticular (3 color) Rodolphe Berthon N/A (16 mm home movies only) (1928)
Raycol 1928 Additive (2 color) Maurice Elvey The Skipper of the Osprey (1933)
Splendicolor 1928 Subtractive (3 color) Unknown
Technicolor (III) 1928 Subtractive (2 color) Daniel F. Comstock The Viking (1928)
Horst Color 1929 Additive (3 color) L. Horst Unknown
Multicolor 1929 Subtractive (2 color) William Thomas Crespinel Unknown
Cinechrome 1930 Unknown Cinecolor Ltd. Unknown
Cineoptichrome 1930 Additive (2 color) Lucien Roux
Armand Roux
Unknown
Dascolor 1930 Subtractive (2 color) M. L. F. Dassonville Unknown
Harmonicolor 1930 Additive (2 color) Maurice Combs Unknown
Hirlicolor 1930 Subtractive (2 color) George A. Hirliman The Captain Calamity (1936)
Photocolor 1930 Subtractive (2 color) Unknown
Pilney Color 1930 Subtractive (2 color) Unknown
Sennettcolor 1930 Subtractive (2 color) Mack Sennett (financier) Unknown
Sirius Color 1930 Subtractive (2 color) L. Horst Unknown
UFAcolor
aka: Chemicolor,
Spectracolor
1930 Subtractive (2 color) UFA Studios Pagliacci (1936)
Vitacolor 1930 Additive (2 color) William Van Doren Kelley
Max B. Du Pont (financier)
Unknown
Chimicolor 1931 Subtractive (3 color) Syndicate de la Cinematographe des Couleurs Unknown
Magnacolor 1931 Subtracitive (2 color) Consolidated Laboratories The Bold Cabalero (1936)
Dufaycolor 1931 Mosaic (3 color) Louis Dufay
Dufay-Chromex Co.
Sons of the Sea (1939)
DuPack 1931 Subtractive (2 color) DuPont Co. Unknown
AGFAcolor (I) 1932 Lenticular (3 color) AGFA N/A (16mm only)
Cinecolor (I) 1932 Subtractive (2 color) William T. Crispinel
Alan M. Gundelfinger
Unknown
Honeymoon Hotel (1934)
Technicolor (IV) 1932 Subtractive (3 color) Joseph A. Ball Flowers and Trees (1932)
Morgana Color 1932 Additive (2 color) Bell and Howell
Lady Juliet Williams
N/A (16mm only)
Gasparcolor 1933 Subtractive (3 color) Bela Gaspar Kreise (1933) and Muratti Greift Ein (1934)
Francita Process
aka: Opticolor (UK)
1935 Additive (2 color) British Realita Syndica, Ltd. Unknown (July 1935, Paris, France)
Kodachrome (II) 1935 Subtractive (3 color) Eastman-Kodak N/A (16mm only)
Telco-Color 1936 Subtractive (3 color) Cavalcade of Texas (1938)
Unknown Soviet Process 1936 Subtractive (2 color) Unknown Nightingale (1936)
Dunningcolor 1937 Subtractive (3 color) Carroll H. Dunning
Dodge Dunning
Tehauntepec (1937)
AGFAColor (II)
aka: Sovcolor,
Chrome Color
Art Chrome Color
1939 Subtractive (3 color) I.G. Farben Frauen sind doch bessere Diplomaten (1939-41)
Cosmocolor 1940 Subtractive (2 color) Otto C. Gilmore Isle of Destiny (1940)
Thomascolor 1942 Additive (3 color) Richard Thomas Unknown
Cinefotocolor 1947 Additive (2 color) Unknown
Fullcolor 1947 Subtractive (3 color) The Goldwyn Follies (1947 reissue)
Rouxcolor 1947 Additive (3 color) Lucien Roux
Armand Roux
The Miller's Daughter (1948)
Thomson Color 1947 Lenticular (3 color) Société Thomson Jour de Fête (1949) (color version not released)
Cinecolor (II)
aka: SuperCineColor
1948 Subtractive (3 color) Alan M. Gundelfinger The Sword of Monte Cristo (1951)
Konicolor 1948 Subtractive (3 color) Konishi Roku
Magicolor 1948 Subtractive (3 color) The Magic Horse (1948)
Polacolor 1948 Subtractive (3 color) Polaroid Corp. Unknown
Technichrome 1948 Subtractive (2 Color) Technicolor Company of England The Olympic Games of 1948
Trucolor (II) 1948 Subtractive (3 color) Republic Pictures
Consolidated Film Industries
This Is Korea! (1951)
Eastman Color
aka: DeLuxe Color
Metrocolor
Pathécolor (II)
WarnerColor
etc., etc.
1950 Subtractive (3 color) Eastman Kodak Royal Journey (1951)
Ansco Color 1952 Subtractive (3 color) General Aniline and Film Corp. Climbing the Matterhorn (1948)
Dugromacolor 1952 Additive (3 color) Dumas, Grosset, and Marx Unknown
Ferraniacolor 1952 Subtractive (3 color) Toto A Colori (1952)
Fox Lenticular Film 1953 Lenticular (3 color) Twentieth Century-Fox N/A (experimental)
Fujicolor 1953 Subtractive (3 color) Adventure of Natsuko (1953)

References[edit]

External Link[edit]

  • Timeline of Historical Film Colors, a comprehensive database of color film systems including bibliographies, filmographies, many photographs of historical films, patents, and links etc.