1902

First Color Images

His entry in the Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema claims that Edward Raymond Turner (along with Frederick Marshall Lee) patented the first three-color film process that led to a usable system. After you get over the shock of there being a Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema, check out the first color movies from the National Media Museum. Shot in 1902, the images were created by shooting the images through red, green and blue frames before projecting them one on top of the other. The restoration process is just as fascinating as the images themselves, and the new version of history that was uncovered in a storage room is something to think on. I wonder what Turner would think if he saw Avatar. I also wonder what antiques the people of 2122 will uncover from their archives to marvel at their primitiveness.

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Why Watch? Because it’s the first science fiction film ever made. Co-writing with his brother Gaston, Georges Méliès produced, directed, and starred in this enduringly brilliant short that features clever innovations in special effects and a unique style created by blending live-action with a very specific type of animation. Most know that it was the inspiration for the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” music video (and my stalker knows it as the inspiration for one of my tattoos), but the most fascinating fact outside the film itself is that it was one of the earliest victims of film piracy. Méliès had already been making short films for years before A Trip to the Moon, and he saw the United States as a ticket to monetary success that would be cashed by this popular, science fiction dream. Unfortunately, Thomas Edison had his cronies make copies of the film in order to play it around the country – severely injuring Méliès’s ability to make money from his own work. The story and the story of Méliès’s life don’t have happy endings. Clearly, stealing movies is just as old as movies themselves. What does it cost? Just 10 minutes of your time. Check out A Trip to the Moon for yourself:

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
C

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