A Visit to the Seaside (1908)

"Old" films often have two things in common; they are silent and film in black and white. While the first commercial "talkie" sound film was released in 1927, the concept of colour - even commercially - in film pre-dates this significantly.

The concept of colour in film is often attributed to Technicolor, in part because they were the go-to company in Hollywood between 1922 and 1952, during cinema's transition to the mainstream.

However, it was in 1899 when colour was first added into a motion picture. By adding a rotating disk of three colour filters, Edward Raymond Turner was able to sequentially film filtered images onto black and white film. When played back, he projected three frames in a row using different filters to create the illusion of a single coloured image.

Turner died in 1903 at the age of just 29, with his work passing to George Albert Smith. While Smith could see the benefits in Turner's methods, it was common that the three frames did not quite line up (having been filmed sequentially), leading to jumbling of the image.

Building on Turner's work, Smith would go on to create the first successful and commercially viable colour film process, Kinemacolor, in 1908. This technique would be replaced by Technicolor around ten years later.

A Visit to the Seaside was the first motion picture exhibited to utilise Kinemacolour. It depicts a day at Brighton beach. Unfortunately I've been unable to find the full 8 minute picture (I assume it is a lost movie), but fragments remain and can be watched below.