William Friese-Greene’s research and experiments contributed to the development of moving pictures from the early 1890s. In 1905 he began work on a new colour film system in the Davidson & Jumeaux workshop at 20, Middle Street, Brighton.
Showcased in 1911, Biocolour was similar to Kinemacolor but the film itself was stained red and green on alternate frames. This meant that Biocolour films could be shown on existing cinema equipment without the need for expensive alteration.
Hampered in his efforts to market his new colour system by the patents protecting the rival system of Kinemacolor, Friese-Greene turned to the courts. After a long court battle he was finally successful in having the patent for Kinemacolor revoked in 1915. However, with the outbreak of World War I and personal difficulties, he was never able to capitalise on his invention.
In the 1920s his son Claude Friese-Greene further developed his father’s system. He produced The Open Road in 1926. However, the flicker visible on projection of the film and the new developments in the USA of Technicolor and the talkies meant that there was no commercial interest in Biocolour.
The process was forgotten until the British Film Institute restored the film and it was shown on BBC television in 2007. It is the best surviving example of a two-colour additive film in the UK.
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