Claude Friese-Greene

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Claude Friese-Greene (3 May 1898 – 6 January 1943) was a British-born cinema technician, filmmaker and cinematographer, most famous for his 1926 collection of films entitled The Open Road.[1]


The Friese-Greene grave in Highgate Cemetery

Claude, born Claude Harrison Greene in Fulham, London, was the son of William Friese-Greene, a pioneer in early cinematography. He was the grandfather of musician and music producer Tim Friese-Greene.[2]

He died in Islington, London. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery with his parents.

Colour cinematography[edit]

Claude's father William began the development of an additive colour film process called Biocolour. This process produced the illusion of true colour by exposing each alternate frame of ordinary black-and-white film stock through two different coloured filters. Each alternate frame of the monochrome print was then stained red or green. Although the projection of Biocolour prints did provide a tolerable illusion of true colour, like the more famous Kinemacolor process of George Albert Smith it suffered from noticeable colour flicker (a potentially headache-inducing defect known technically as 'colour bombardment') and from red-and-green fringing around anything in the scene that moved very rapidly. In an attempt to overcome these problems, a faster-than-usual frame rate was used.

After William's death in 1921, Claude Friese-Greene continued to develop the system during the 1920s and renamed the process Friese-Greene Natural Colour then the Spectrum Colour Film process. Claude went on to be a highly-respected cinematographer on more than 60 films from 1923 to 1943 and a was one of the first to shoot in Technicolor in Britain. He died as the result of an accident when filming at the Denham Film Studios in January 1943.[3]

In 2006, the BBC ran a series of programmes called The Lost World of Friese-Greene. The series, presented by Dan Cruickshank, included The Open Road, Claude Friese-Greene's film of his 1920s road trip from Land's End to John o' Groats.[4] The Open Road was filmed using the Spectrum Colour Film process, and the British Film Institute used computer processing of the images to minimise the red and green fringes around rapidly moving objects.

List of films in Spectrum Colour Film process[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC - History - Who was Claude Friese-Greene?". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008.
  2. ^ Rob Young (2010). Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music. Faber & Faber. p. 586. ISBN 978-0571258420.
  3. ^ "Technicolor Pioneer Dies", The Dundee Evening Telegraph, p. 4, 8 January 1943
  4. ^ "When Britain was a rose-tinted spectacle". The Guardian. 9 April 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2020.

External links[edit]