Abstract A technique of color restoration for faded color films with whitelight optical processing is presented. The color restoration can be accomplished with spatial encoding and color filtering. Although the technique offers an advantage of faded color encoding, however, it is not a real-time technique. We have also presented a real-time color restoration with white-light optical processing technique. Experimental demonstrations of this color restoration technique are also included. We have shown that the white-light color restoration is a simple, versatile and economical technique. The white-light processing technique also offers the advantage of direct viewing capability, which is very suitable for instantaneous color restoration and enhancement applications.