Shooting Challenge: Technicolor

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Those old Hollywood movies looked larger than life, didn't they? In part, it was because of their elaborate sets. And in part, it was the over-saturated Technicolor. For this week's Shooting Challenge, you'll take a photo in Technicolor.

The Challenge

Take a photo and convert it to Technicolor.

The Technique

So, technically, it's impossible to actually film in classic Technicolor now—and that may be a good thing, as its light needs were notorious for melting actors into muddled puddles.


But we can look at the engineering behind Technicolor and duplicate the process using our digital cameras and a photo editing tool. The video embedded here explains the process better than I can, but essentially, you'll be building three black and white images using the color information from your photo, then you'll recolor these images and recombine them.

Technically, the tutorial is based upon the "3-strip" process that debuted a bit later in the technology's lifespan (it went through several iterations within a few decades). Feel free to modify it to duplicate the look from any particular film you like. But don't feel forced to shoot old Hollywood-style photos. Part of the fun is shooting new subjects in good old Technicolor.


The Example

Our lead shot is obviously from The Wizard of Oz—a DarkRealmFox screengrab from Warner Bros. Blu-ray edition. The film is actually a lot more saturated than other productions (and I'm sure some film buffs could explain why and how in the comments)—restoration, no doubt, played a part. But one thing's for sure: there's nothing quite Technicolor in movies today.


The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.
2. Photos must be taken since this contest was announced (read more on that above).
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.
4. Email submissions to, not me.
5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a 2560x1600 sized in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.
6. One submission per person.
7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)
8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.
9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.


Send your best photo by Monday, April 30th at 10AM Eastern to with "Technicolor" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameTechnicolor.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameTechnicolorWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions. Include your shooting summary (camera, lens, ISO, etc) in the body of the email along with a story of the shot in a few sentences. And don't skip this story part because it's often the most enjoyable part for us all beyond the shot itself!

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.