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Film Studies: Color in Film

This guide is an introduction to the resources for Film Studies at Dartmouth. If you are interested in Television, see the separate research guide for Television.

Definition of color on film

Colour - Film historians have been primarily interested in the introduction of colour film technology as an integral aspect of the film industry and its development, with the move to colour understood, at least in part, as a consequence of the need to differentiate cinema from television in the 1950s (see film history).

Kuhn, A. & Westwell, G. (2012). "Colour." In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 31 Oct. 2016.

Colour film - A film that is in colour; a film that is not black and white. Cinemagoers at the turn of the 20th century would have experienced a vivid mixture of black-and-white and colour cinematography (see early cinema); indeed, a clear distinction between the two was not established until the 1920s. Early colour processes included the hand painting of each frame: this was expensive and time-consuming—a silent film ten minutes in length and running at 16fps (see frames per second) would require 9,600 separate frames to be painted.

Kuhn, A. & Westwell, G. (2012). "Colour film." In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 31 Oct. 2016.

In the Library's Collection

Most of the books on color films are located in the call number range PN 1995.9 .C546 on Baker Level 4. There are also books in the Sherman Art Library.

This page not only looks at color films, the change from Black & White to color, but also the use of color in films.

Introductory reading(s)

A short list of books about movies