we owe a lot to the movies

Jeanette MacDonald by Technicolor in the 1938 Sweethearts movie

Toronto. In 1932, Hollywood released the first movie shot in Technicolor’s three strip process. The shot here is via TCM and Sony TV and shows Jeanette MacDonald in a scene from the movie “Sweethearts”.  This was the first color film for both her and Nelson Eddy.

While consistent color balance was still challenging, the three strip process resulted in brilliant, long lasting colours; all be it very saturated colours with lots of yellows, reds and sparkling blacks and whites.

The process was costly and  clumsy. Each scene was shot on three individual monochrome negative strips through individual filters. A dye transfer process was used to make the distributed positive. A very expensive route to colour that lasted well into the mid last century when single film tri-packs became common (Eastmancolor, Agfacolor, etc.).

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