The Oldest Color Movies Bring Sunflowers, Exotic Birds and Goldfish Back to Life (1902)

Long before Tech­ni­col­or came along, the British pho­tog­ra­ph­er and inven­tor Edward Turn­er devel­oped a three-col­or motion pic­ture sys­tem in 1899. It was based on the mid-19th cen­tu­ry dis­cov­ery that all col­ors could be pro­duced through com­bi­na­tions of the three pri­ma­ry col­ors — red, green and blue. And Turn­er’s genius was find­ing a way to bring this notion to mov­ing pic­tures. Work­ing with the financier Fred­er­ick Mar­shall Lee, Turn­er man­aged to shoot col­or films of chil­dren play­ing with sun­flow­ers (above), a macaw perched in a cage, and gold­fish swim­ming in a bowl. But then his films and pro­jec­tors were lost … for a good cen­tu­ry … and only recent­ly did the Nation­al Media Muse­um in the UK recov­er the footage and then build a spe­cial pro­jec­tor capa­ble of bring­ing the films back to the screen. To learn how they pulled it off, watch the video below. It’s pret­ty inter­est­ing:

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