Introduction to Film Cinema and Literature

Topics: Filmmaking, Film crew, Film Pages: 34 (12121 words) Published: March 13, 2010
In 1873, Leland Stanford, a former California Governor needed help in winning a bet that he had made with a friend. Stanford was convinced that horse in gallop had all four feet off the ground and was bent on proving it. Since it was impossible to prove such a thing by merely watching a horse race, he employed the services of Eadweard Muybridge, who was a well-known photographer. Muybridge worked on the problem for four years and finally came up with a solution in 1877. He arranged a series of still cameras along a stretch of race track and each camera took its picture as the horse sprinted by. The result of the photographs proved Leland Stanford right thereby making him win the bet. But rather than forgetting about the event, Muybridge had a brilliant idea which was inspired by the pictures of the horse. He therefore began taking pictures of numerous kinds of human and animal actions. Those pictures were displayed through the Zoopraxiscope, a machine that Muybridge invented for projecting slides onto a distance surface (fig.1.1).

People saw pictures as if they were in motion when the pictures were rapidly projected in sequential slides. This was made possible due to a physiological phenomenon known as persistence of vision in which images our eyes gather are retained in the brain for about 1/24 of a second. This means that if photographic frames are moved at 24 frames a second, people perceive them as actually in motion.

In 1888, Muybridge finally met Thomas Edison who was a prolific inventor. Edison quickly saw the scientific as well as the economic potentials of Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope, so he appointed his top scientist, William Dickson, and gave him the task of developing a better projector. Dickson identified the limitations of the Zoopraxiscope, which included shooting numerous still photos, then putting them in sequential order and then redrawing the images they held onto slides. Therefore, he combined Hannibal Goodwin’s newly invented celluloid roll film with George Eastman’s easy-to-use Kodak camera to form a motion picture camera called Kinetograph which took 40 photographs a second. He filmed all types of theatrical performances through the use of this device (Fig.1.3).

It is impossible to talk about the evolution of film without mentioning the development of photography since film is an off-shoot of photography. Among the people who significantly contributed to the development of photography was the French inventor Joseph Nicephore Niepce. Niepce was the first to develop photography around 1816. He photographed natural objects and produced colour prints, but unfortunately his images would last only a short time. Because of his success, Louis Daguerre decided to work with him to perfect the process. Their partnership led to the production of the Daguerreotype though Niepce died before it was introduced in 1839. Another inventor along this line was William Henry Fox Talbot who introduced paper film process in 1850. The last face of development of the photographic process necessary for true motion pictures was champion by Hannibal Goodwin in 1887 and Eastman in 1889. Their inventions were adapted to motion pictures by Edison scientist Dickson.

Thomas Edison built the first motion picture studio near his laboratory in New Jersey and named it Black Maria. He did not project the completed films on any surface; rather, the films were run through a Kinetoscope, which was a sort of peep show device (Fig.1.4 & 1.5). The device became very popular and was adopted by many business men.

The Lumiere brothers envisioned great wealth in their ability to increase the number of people who can watch a movie at the same time. To achieve this, they made people sit in a darkened room to watch motion picture projected on a screen. In 1895, they patented a device that both photographed and projected action...
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