Charles Urban, Motion Picture Pioneer

Charles Urban (1867-1942) was one of the major figures of early cinema. Here you can learn about the varied career of the man who did much to establish the documentary, news, travel and educational film, as well as being the producer of the world's first successful natural colour motion picture system, Kinemacolor.

The site includes the history of Urban's career in film, biographies of those who worked with him, sources of information on Urban including film archives and his personal papers, key archival documents and images, a list of films available online, and the latest news on Urban. Not sure where to begin or who Urban was? Then start here...


Site highlights

The life and career of Charles Urban, with chronology

The Delhi Durbar

The Cinematograph in Science, Education and Matters of State

List of surviving Kinemacolor films

Charles Urban films online

Twenty famous films

Charles Urban - the book

My book Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897-1925 is published by University of Exeter Press. The US distributor is the University of Chicago Press. Originally published in hardback, the book is now available in paperback as well.


This website is produced by Luke McKernan. If you want to get in touch about any aspect of the site or Charles Urban's work, please visit