Claude Friese-Greene (3 May 1898 in Fulham, London – 6 January 1943 in Islington, London) was a British-born cinema technician, filmmaker and cinematographer, most famous for his 1926 collection of films entitled The Open Road .
Claude, born Claude Harrison Greene was the son of William Friese-Greene, a pioneer in early cinematography. He was the grandfather of musician and music producer Tim Friese-Greene.
He is buried in Highgate Cemetery with his parents.
Claude's father William began the development of an additive colour film process called Biocolour. This process produced the illusion of true colour by exposing each alternate frame of ordinary black-and-white film stock through two different coloured filters. Each alternate frame of the monochrome print was then stained red or green. Although the projection of Biocolour prints did provide a tolerable illusion of true colour, like the more famous Kinemacolor process of George Albert Smith it suffered from noticeable colour flicker (a potentially headache-inducing defect known technically as 'colour bombardment') and from red-and-green fringing around anything in the scene that moved very rapidly. In an attempt to overcome these problems, a faster-than-usual frame rate was used.
After William's death in 1921, Claude Friese-Greene continued to develop the system during the 1920s and renamed the process Friese-Greene Natural Colour then the Spectrum Colour Film process. Claude went on to be a highly-respected cinematographer on more than 60 films from 1923 to 1943 and a was one of the first to shoot in Technicolor in Britain. He died as the result of an accident when filming at the Denham Film Studios in January 1943.
In 2006, the BBC ran a series of programmes called The Lost World of Friese-Greene . The series, presented by Dan Cruickshank, included The Open Road , Claude Friese-Greene's film of his 1920s road trip from Land's End to John o' Groats.The Open Road was filmed using the Spectrum Colour Film process, and the British Film Institute used computer processing of the images to minimise the red and green fringes around rapidly moving objects.
William Friese-Greene was a prolific English inventor and professional photographer. He is principally known as a pioneer in the field of motion pictures, having devised a series of cameras in 1888–1891, with which he shot moving pictures in London. He went on to patent an early two-colour filming process in 1905. His inventions in the field of printing – including photo-typesetting and a method of printing without ink – brought him wealth, as did his chain of photographic studios. However, he spent everything he earned on inventing, went bankrupt three times and was jailed once, before dying in poverty.
Kinemacolor was the first successful colour motion picture process, used commercially from 1908 to 1914. It was invented by George Albert Smith in 1906. He was influenced by the work of William Norman Lascelles Davidson and, more directly, Edward Raymond Turner. It was launched by Charles Urban's Urban Trading Co. of London in 1908. From 1909 on, the process was known and trademarked as Kinemacolor. It was a two-colour additive colour process, photographing and projecting a black-and-white film behind alternating red and green filters.
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