Archiving Technicolor dreams / by KirstenStudio

bn_still01Technicolor was a trademark for color film processes established almost 100 years ago. From 1927 to 1974, Technicolor films were the industry standard, and from 1932 to 1955 the film industry is known as the “Glorious Age of Technicolor". The two-color and eventually the very successful three-strip Technicolor process was created by Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation offered a super color saturated look. The three-strip Technicolor process was used for musicals such as Singin' in the Rain and Disney's animated films of the period. Technicolor recently announced that it is donating its 1915 to 1974 archive to the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The George Eastman House, a Technicolor competitor back in the day, is currently the third largest film archive in the country and the world’s largest technology collection. Joe Berchtold, head of Technicolor’s Creative Services division said, “This commitment will ensure the history of Technicolor’s three-strip process–as well as two-color before it–will be preserved with full integrity". Dr. Richard Goldberg, a (or some might say "the) color scientist in motion pictures, teaches at  the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and has collaborated with Eastman House to organize and oversee the transfer and preservation of the archival materials for this donated collection.

The Technicolor archives being donated are Technicolor camera blimps, VistaVision/Technirama magazine, camera and lenses, dye-transfer testing machine, 65mm matrix printer, Cinerama registering printer, filters and plates, equipment schematics and more. The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film already hosts an impressive Technicolor collection of over 3,000 reels of films and many documents from Founder Dr. Herbert Kalmus, Leland Troland, Technicolor Chief Engineer and Dr. John Andreas former head of Technicolor Research Department.  The museum is located in Rochester, New York.

Technicolor films and their associated equipment and documentation are of incredible importance in film's history, both creatively and scientifically.  Many movies filmed in this process are lost forever from studio spring cleaning, before the concept of archiving came about, but many are still around and awaiting restoration and it's always a race against time, especially when they're not stored properly during their wait.  Luckily film preservation is gaining awareness due to industry giants like Martin Scorsese, a regular promotor and also founder of his own film preservation organization The Film Foundation. Awareness, like all efforts like this, is key and big companies like Technicolor taking time and funds to ensure their work is appropriately archived gives proper attention to its place in history.

Sources for this blog include the Studio Daily Blog, Wikipedia, George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film site and Technicolor's official site.