Tinting and Toning

Tinting and Toning Motion Picture Films by Carl Louis Gregory F.R.P.S - 1927 Chapter 11 from Motion Picture Photography.

Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Films 2nd Edition  Second Edition Published 1918 by Eastman Kodak Company  This is a PDF File kindly provided by Michael Betancourt

Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Motion Picture Film Third Edition Published 1922 by Eastman Kodak Company

Tinting and Toning of Eastman Positive Films 4th Edition Fourth Edition Published 1927 by Eastman Kodak Company

Double Toning of Film  from the Cinematograph Weekly dated March 19 1931


Click Thumbnail to View Frames


Tinted Film:

  Note the image ranges from Blue Green to Black

  Green tint

  Rose tint

  Straw tint

  Yellow Tint

  Two shades of Amber tint.  The title is slightly darker than the picture

  Pale yellow tint

Tinting is carried out by dyeing the film emulsion or, in the past, by buying film stock where the film base was coloured.  All the major manufacturers supplied a range of coloured base stocks.



This is a piece of unprocessed pre-tinted orange base. The picture on the left is the emulsion side, the one on it's right is the base side showing the orange tinting.

To the right of these is a piece of yellow pre-tinted stock where the sound track area has not been tinted. The picture is of the base side of the film. To the right of that is a piece of green tinted stock also a piece that has been partly fixed to show the tint and below a piece of blue tinted stock again with a piece that has been partly fixed.  two more samples of tinted base without the sound track tinted.  Finally a selection of pre-tinted stocks

Most stock manufacturers produced booklets that contained samples of tinting and toning.

 'All the Colours of The World' produced by the Gamma Group and published by Edizioni Diabasis, 1998 contains illustrations from Agfa, Gevaert and Pathe.

Johnsons & Sons, Cross Street, Finsbury, London produced a sample book for their Kinocolor Film Dyes.

When sound was introduced tinting caused problems with the reproduction of the sound track; different colours caused changes to the sound level, various methods were used to solve this problem. Kodak Ltd  patented the following method. Improvements in or relating to the Tinting of Combination Kinematograph and Sound record Films This is Patent GB 348372 May 13 1929 and appears by kind permission of the Director of the European Patent Office

EPA/EPO/OEB , 80298 Munchen, Deutschland


Toned Film:


Copper Toning

The image ranges from Clear to Brown.  Actually the clear areas are also slightly coloured.  It is very difficult to keep the clear areas clear when toning.


    Iron toning                     Dascolor

Toning is carried out by converting the black and white silver image to another, usually metallic, element to change the colour. 

Iron gives blue

Copper gives red to brown

Vanadium gives green

Uranium gives black to red

Selenium gives red-brown

Sulphide gives sepia. 

It can also be achieved by replacing the silver image by a dye image using a dye mordant.  This gives an almost infinite range of colours and was used in many of the early colour systems. 

Film known as duplex film was made which had emulsion on both sides.  One side could be toned iron blue and the other side could be dye toned orange.  Dascolor used such a system. Dascolor:  Duplex film, One side toned Iron Blue, The other dye-toned Orange. The two colours can be seen, the orange between the perfs and the blue green on the left edge of the picture frame.






Tinted and Toned Film: Tinting and toning was used to give a combination of colours. The first image ranges from Yellow to Green.  This is a yellow tint with a green tone added.  The second sample is a blue tone and a rose tint.  The blue is Iron toning.
      Stencil colour: The colours were added by painting over stencils which masked out the areas of the frame that did not need the colour being applied. The right hand frame is the Pathecolor stencil cutter and next to it a stencil  - these  images were kindly supplied by the Cinematheque Franšais.

MOTION PICTURE PHOTOGRAPHY by Carl Lewis Gregory, F.R.P.S. Second Edition published by Falk Publishing Co. Inc New York City in 1927. Chapter XI: TINTING and TONING MOTION PICTURE FILMS-please click thumbnails to enlarge.  This information was kindly supplied by Mr David Cleveland.



Double Toning of Film An article by the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratory from the Cinematograph Weekly dated March 19 1931. Please click thumbnail to enlarge.

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