World's Oldest Color Motion Picture Reconstructed for Viewing, Eventual Conversion to 3D

September 13, 2012


Home footage of some guy's kids is for once proving interesting: researchers at the National Media Museum in Bradford have reassembled a 110-year-old film reel containing the first known color motion picture in existence.

Shot by Edward Raymond Turner in 1902, the film was shot using a process he first patented in March of 1899. As you can learn in more detail in the below video, color was achieved by shooting special film through color filters, each going to a separate frame; the three frames then needed to be filtered and projected together to get a full-color shot. The process was overly-complicated and thought unsuccessful at the time of Turner's abrupt death at 29, but by scanning the film and letting computers handle the business of marrying the colors, the BFI National Archive has turned the century-old footage into digital files that are now being properly viewed for the first time. Now we can make that look into an Instagram filter.

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