William Shakespeare’s line of poetry from The Tempest has been interpreted in different ways, but it is abundantly clear that his intent was to suggest that one’s history informs one’s future. Another renowned poet, T.S. Eliot, approached this notion somewhat differently in his poem Little Gidding: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Having reached its centenary on November 19, this milestone may be seen as an appropriate point of departure to consider Technicolor’s prospects for the future. This notion was aptly addressed by George Eastman Museum Senior Motion Picture Curator, Paolo Cherchi Usai. When, upon reflection of Technicolor’s 100th anniversary, and certainly informed by the museum’s work on its recent exhibition and “essential” scholarly study, The Dawn of Technicolor, he declared that we’ve just now reached a point of departure for further study and understanding of Technicolor.
What are the lessons of Technicolor’s past and how do those lessons inform the company’s direction for the future? Certain attributes derived from Technicolor’s history are likely signposts for the future. These include the role of technology and color science, aspects of the company’s entire 100-year history; the company’s commitment to serving the creative interests of filmmakers; the fact that Technicolor over its entire history has re-invented itself many times addressing the changing landscape of entertainment content and the challenges of the myriad of competing forces. These were attributes of the company as formed by Dr. Herbert Kalmus and his partners in 1915, and they have remained values embraced by Technicolor leadership over the past half century, since Dr. Kalmus retired.
Equally as important are those driving values is how the company is situated to address the future. It is safe to say that Dr. Kalmus likely could not have imagined the role of the “home” as a major driver for innovation, but the “home experience,” something that emerged in the 1960s, has reached a level of parity with the theatrical market. The “mobile” market portents an even greater expansion of the content landscape beyond that of a traditional movie theatre. (There is, of course, an obvious and rather resonant irony with the concept of mobile given that Technicolor’s first laboratory was mobile – found within a railroad boxcar!) Technicolor’s recent acquisition of Cisco System’s Connected Devices division is as clear of an indicator as any as to Technicolor’s resolve to grow their offering for a connected home. Moreover, who better than Technicolor to address the rapidly changing nature of entertainment logistics – another driver of future growth for the company?
When Dr. Kalmus and his partners, David Comstock and W. Burton Westcott, created their research engineering firm, K, C & W, in 1912, which led directly to the creation of Technicolor, their commitment to research was obvious. It’s likely that all three would share an appreciation of Technicolor’s continued commitment to research and innovation. The company is now globally situated with research facilities around the world that continue to develop IP that finds its way into the market by way of our patent portfolio that began in 1915, as related to Technicolor, and even earlier as related to those legacy patents from Thomson SA.
Ultimately, it still comes down to the creation of content, and that too will remain a constant driver of future endeavors for the company by way of providing storytellers, whether working in theatrical features, broadcast (inclusive of streaming and “OTT” content), or games, with the best creative production services, sound-services, or world-class visual effects and animation.
Serving the expanded global marketplace for content with the best creative talent, technology, and innovative thinking is Technicolor’s legacy and commitment to the future.