George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film today announced a major gift to the museum â€” the historic archive of Technicolor dating from 1915 to 1974. The donation includes rare cameras, documents and drawings, photographs, printers and processing machines, corporate records, and other important materials that represent the history of Technicolorâ€™s groundbreaking contributions to motion pictures. This collection joins the Eastman Houseâ€™s current Technicolor holdings of early research papers, technology, and the worldâ€™s largest collection of Technicolor camera negatives, including The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind.
â€œMany of the iconic films of the 20th century were photographed and presented in Technicolor, and this archive is the cornerstone piece in the study of color in motion pictures,â€? said Dr. Anthony Bannon, the Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House, the countryâ€™s third largest film archive and worldâ€™s largest technology collection. â€œThe importance of this collection and monumental donation cannot be overstated.â€?
Technicolor, a trademark for a series of color film processes, was established close to a century ago with the goal of bringing â€œnaturalâ€? color to motion pictures. Technicolor has played a significant role in the film industry, progressing through several color transfer methods. From 1927 to 1974, Technicolor films were the industry standard, with the year 1932 to 1955 marked as the â€œGlorious Age of Technicolor,â€? featuring the three-strip dye transfer system used in the production of many classic Technicolor films.
â€œTechnicolor is proud to announce the gift weâ€™ve made to George Eastman House, to preserve our corporate collection put together by Dr. Richard Goldberg,â€? said Joe Berchtold, head of Technicolorâ€™s Creative Services division. â€œThis commitment will ensure the history of Technicolorâ€™s three-strip process â€” as well as two-color before it â€” will be preserved with full integrity.â€?
Goldberg, now retired, was the last head of the Technicolor Research Division and is heralded as one of the greatest color scientists in motion picture history. Eastman House worked with Goldberg to identify, clean, and catalog the materials for acquisition and preservation. Goldberg has taught classes in color technology for Eastman Houseâ€™s L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation and was a personal friend of the late Jeffrey Selznick, co-founder and namesake of the school.
The museumâ€™s existing Technicolor holdings include the historic collection of films, as well as important documents from Technicolor pioneers, such as Kalmusâ€™s letters and notebooks detailing the earliest processes; the diaries of Leonard Troland, Technicolor chief engineer; and the papers and letters of Dr. John Andreas, former head of Technicolor Research Department. The Eastman House collection also includes a two-color camera dating from 1922 â€” one of only three known examples â€” plus a three-strip model D camera from 1939, one of fewer than 20 that survive.
â€œCombined with the existing George Eastman House archive of Technicolor papers, including those donated by our founder, Dr. Herbert Kalmus,â€? Berchtold noted, â€œthe Technicolor collection will provide future generations access to the insight surrounding the many inventions and innovations Technicolor has provided the motion picture industry over the past 95 years.â€?
The Technicolor collection has been successfully relocated from Los Angeles to Rochester, with the transfer and storage of this collection supported by a grant from the Packard Humanities Institute. The Eastman House estimates the collection should be open to researchers after itemized cataloging and artifact research is complete
With more than 95 years of experience in technological innovation, Technicolor is a leading provider of production, postproduction, and distribution services to content creators and distributors. Technicolor is one of the worldâ€™s largest film processors; the largest independent manufacturer and distributor of DVDs (including Blu-rayâ„¢ Disc); and a leading global supplier of set-top boxes and gateways. The company also operates an Intellectual Property and Licensing business unit managing more than 40,000 patents. For more information: technicolor.com