The Technicolor Dreamcoat

I was watching TV the other night with my wife when a movie about Bettie Page came on.  She’s a 50’s pinup girl (I didn’t recognize her, but ironically, my wife knew her real well).  The movie was okay, but they kept showing sequences in Technicolor, the type of coloration used in many movies in the 40’s a 50’s (think the Wizard of Oz).

I really didn’t know too much about technicolor, so I decided to learn its history and  how it can be done in today’s post production environment.  My goal was to make sample of footage once I understood it more.  Here are the results of my efforts and how they may help you as you seek to generate demand with video.

Boy, am I glad its the 21st century where we can accomplish most things in post production using special effects software like Adobe After Effects.  Not that its super easy today, but the old way using film stock was crazy and expensive.  I won’t bore you with the process of how they shot technicolor back then, other than to say there was two types, 2 Pass and 3 Pass technicolor.  If you want the nuts and bolts, check out Wikipedia’s information on Technicolor.

More important to you and me is how can technicolor affect visual demand generation on my next project?  There are many ways that technicolor can enhance your video footage, like:

  • Adding a feeling of nostalgia.  Little kids to senior citizens seem to respond to the look of technicolor.  Its captivating.
  • Instilling historic reference.  If you are trying to give a sense of historic time and place, technicolor can be a good choice.
  • It adds incredible richness to the color of your footage (SD & HD).
  • It can add a comedic feel to your production.
  • It can enhance the perceived quality and budget of your production.  It might make you look like you broke the bank when you really didn’t.
  • Its possible that the look itself can make your video go viral on YouTube and the other video sites.

I took a little time (well, actually a lot) and did some research on how to make a technicolor look using any old digital video footage.  After about 5 or six failures, I came across a method and created a small sample of technicolor from some footage I shot of my son Griffin as we vacationed this past July.  It gives you a sense of what can be accomplished.

If you company wants to achieve a technicolor look on your next production, please feel free to contact me and we can talk about how to make it happen.

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