A brief history of cinema
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A Brief History of Cinema. First this request. The Original Outlook. “Young man, you can be grateful that my invention is not for sale, for it would undoubtedly ruin you. It can be exploited for a certain time…but apart from that it has no commercial value.” August Lumiere 1895.

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A Brief History of Cinema

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A Brief History of Cinema


First this request


The Original Outlook

  • “Young man, you can be grateful that my invention is not for sale, for it would undoubtedly ruin you. It can be exploited for a certain time…but apart from that it has no commercial value.” August Lumiere 1895


Pre-cinema : White Magic

  • They had “a lantern with pictures in glass to make pictures appear on the wall, very pretty.” Samuel Pepys’s journal, 1666


Eadward Muybridge

  • Muybridge’s sequential photographs got many thinking about the possibilities of “moving pictures”

  • This sprung from an 1877 bet.


Zoetrope adaptations

  • The zoetrope was an optical toy which exploited the idea of the persistence of vision.

  • This was an important marriage of photos and perceived motion, and it got many started on the potential held therein.


Edison Strikes First

  • Since he invented almost everything anyway, Edison is credited for inventing the first film viewing mechanism which he called the Kinetoscope.


Here are the schematics of the Kinetoscope


This is the interior and the workings of a later German model


Kinetoscope Facts

  • Edison, too, had little faith in long-term public interest in his invention, and waived the right to European copyrights

  • He opted for a single viewer model of projector

  • They were housed in parlors where one could view for a penny a peep.


Kinetoscope parlor


Edison’s Studio and Films


William Dickson and the Mutoscope

  • One of Edison’s key men left his franchise and created the Mutoscope…a fancy flip-book machine


But the best machines were the Lumiere Bros’s

  • These guys created a machine which could shoot and develop film, and even project it that same evening.

  • They made many realistic loops of scenes from around the world


George Melies

  • Extremely innovative French filmmaker

  • Started as an illusionist

  • Created “tableaux fantastiques”

  • Invented the fade-out, dissolve and double exposures

  • Recognized as father of special effects

  • Went bankrupt


Melie’s images


Evolution

  • From here, films grew in length and sophistication. Early highlights include:

  • The Count of Monte Cristo (O’Neill, 1912)

  • Cabiria (Pastrone, 1913)

  • Birth of a Nation (D.W. Griffith, 1915)

  • Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922)

  • Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925)


And the rest is history


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