Archivists Discover the World’s First Color Movie

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 13 2012 1:41 PM

See the Oldest Movie Filmed in Color

1902movie
A still from the recently discovered 1902 footage

More than a century after it was made, archivists from the National Media Museum in the UK have discovered the world’s oldest motion picture filmed in color, from 1902. The film, made by inventor Edward Raymond Turner, features images of his pets and what archivists believe are his three children playing outside. What makes this cinematic unearthing so extraordinary is that, according to curator Michael Harvey, “It has not been tinted, it has not been hand-colored. It’s in natural color, photographed that way.” This is in contrast to Thomas Edison’s famous moving images of the Annabelle Serpentine Dance from 1895, known as the first hand-tinted movie. Harvey goes on to explain that the frames were shot through colored filters, unprecedented at the time.

In order to bring the colorful images to life, the archivists turned to digitization. While the debate over traditional celluloid versus digital imagery continues, this discovery shows how film and digital tools can work together to preserve cinematic history.  (Via Flavorwire.)

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.

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