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By Mark McConville

CANDID home movies shot by former First Lady Lou Hoover have recently emerged as the earliest colour amateur footage taken at the White House.

The rare footage shows Mrs Hoover and her husband President Herbert Hoover relaxing while off official duty and playing with their kids or enjoying visits from relatives.

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Mrs Hoover shot the video clips during President Hoover’s reign at the White House from 1929 to 1933.

The home movies were known about but they were thought to be in black and white until recently when an audio-visual archivist working at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library discovered that they were in fact in colour.

The footage was shot using Kodacolor, which was a Kodak brand associated with early colour motion pictures and it was first introduced in 1928 for 16mm film.

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The process used a special panchromatic black-and-white film stock used with the emulsion away from the lens.

While Kodacolor was a popular colour home movie format, it had several drawbacks. It could not yield multiple copies easily, special film was necessary to shoot with, and the additive image was colorful and clear, but inherently darker than subtractive processes.

Lenticular Kodacolor was phased out after the introduction of 16 mm Kodachrome film in 1935.

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President Hoover served as the 31st President of the United States and saw the Great Depression ruin his ambitious plans.

It only seemed to get worse every year under his reign despite his increasingly large-scale intervention in the economy.

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