'Never twice the same colour': Standardizing, calibrating and harmonizing NTSC colour television in the early 1950s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

RCA and NBC spent the early part of the 1950s not only working to perfect colour television technology but also trying simultaneously to contain and expand colour use through the introduction of colour management techniques. These techniques included: employing a system of on-set colour harmony, relying on theories of functional colour, developing systems of calibration at the points of both production and reception, and implementing widespread colour training by colour experts and consultants. In this essay I argue that these discourses and strategies of management and standardization had developed in relationship to both the FCC/NTSC standardization experience and the larger postwar colour explosion in design and commercialism. They also reflected not only the promising possibilities of electronic colour, but also the industrial and cultural anxieties that existed around its potential for excess, disruption and triviality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-435
Number of pages21
JournalScreen
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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