Cinema has evolved from several phases and has come up to what is known today as modern cinema. There has been a variety of changes but the very remarkable one is the conversion from black and white screen to a colored screen. Black and white does not mean comprising of the only two colors rather it combines them in different ways and hence, produce variety of grey shades. Adding colors gave a much wider range of shades of color.
The initial days of movie making were entirely based on black and white stills. The term “silver screen” has actually got its existence from this era of movie making, when shimmering black and white images became synonymous with the medium. In the beginning of 20th century, when movie making emerged as a new field, getting colored stills on the screen was a challenge.
The switch from black and white to colored movies was gradual, taking place from the 1930s to the 1960s. The various techniques like tinting and the Technicolor process was introduced during these times, but due to lack of proper instruments film makers’ preferred making black and white movies. For the years 1940–1966 a separate Academy Award for Best Art Direction was given for black-and-white movies along with one for color.
The first color cinematography was by means of additive color systems such as the one patented in England by Edward Raymond Turner in 1899 and tested in 1902. Even kinemacolor was commercialized in 1909 for the similar purpose. Earlier the movies were made black and white with few images in color.
The earliest films were simply one shot, a static type, that showed an event or action with no editing or other techniques of cinema. When the 20th century turned it witnessed films that have started stringing several scenes together to tell a story. The scenes were later broken up into multiple shots photographed from different distances and angles.
Other techniques such as camera movement, to develop an effective way to tell a story with film were invented. Until sound film became commercially practical in the late 1920s, motion pictures were a purely visual art, but these innovative silent films had gained a hold on the public imagination.
Motion picture film requires different processing than standard C-41 process color film due to the rem-jet backing. The process necessary is ECN-2, which has an initial step using an alkaline bath to remove the backing layer. There are also minor differences in the remainder of the process. If motion picture negative is run through a standard C-41 color film developer bath, the rem-jet backing partially dissolves and destroys the integrity of the developer and, potentially, ruins the film. Eastman Kodak and Fujifilm are the remaining major manufacturers of color motion picture film.
The technology has evolved with time towards a better movie development phase and continues to advance to give its audience new exciting features with a better viewing quality.