Industrialized Color

On the left is a photo of the stenciling room at Pathé's Vincennes facility ca. 1912. As former Pathé cameraman Arthur Kingston reports, multiple colors were a necessity in creating the full-fledged spectacle:

To add more color, the release print would be specially toned. Then the three stencils would be lined up in synchronization on a special machine, and the rollers would spread the dye. The biggest difficulty was the rapid shrinkage of nitrate film. If any of the prints involved shrank to any extent, the colors would overlap. So we designed special shrinkage charts which worked in conjunction with an accurate projector. Then we could repunch one sprocket hole per frame. We could depend on our color prints being almost perfect.

On the right is an image from one of several early and rare Pathé scènes de féeries restored by the British Film Institute and released in 2012.

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