Stencil colouring


When Alexandre Volkoff brought the story of history’s greatest lover to the screen in Casanova (1927), he definitely needed colour. While Technicolor was decades away, the French production company Pathé Frères had developed a technique of stencil-colouring films around 1908. This process used a template for each colour – usually between three and six – and applied it frame by frame. Pathé continued innovating, developing mechanical devices to make the process faster and easier for the more than 400 women colourists working at the company. Thanks to Pathé’s stencil method, Casanova’s costumes shimmered in pink, orange and yellow, and rosy blushes graced his lovers’ cheeks.

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Australian Centre for the Moving Image

16 February 2031


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Evolution of colour

From stenciling film frames through to the survival of Technicolor after Hollywood stopped using it, this Constellation links early cinema to some of the world's greatest films.



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