In 1899, just five years after British audiences first saw moving pictures, Edward Turner, a photographer and, and Frederick Marshall Lee, his financial backer, patented the first colour moving picture process in Britain.
A complicated process, it involved photographing successive frames of black-and-white film through blue, green and red filters. Using a special projector (which you can see in the gallery) these were combined on a screen to produce full-colour images.
Turner died in 1903 and Charles Urban turned to early film pioneer, George Albert Smith, to perfect the process. After working on it for a year, Smith deemed Turner’s process unworkable and it was abandoned in favour of his own, simpler, colour process. Marketed by Urban as Kinemacolor, this became the first commercially successful colour moving picture process and made a fortune.
Between 1901 and 1903 Turner had created a number of short test films which Urban kept. By using digital technology and following Turner’s method exactly, we have been able to reveal the full-colour moving images on these films so that they can be seen for the first time in 110 years. You can watch the full footage in the Kodak Gallery or see edited highlights in the video above.