Explain the main differences between the approach the Lumiere Brothers and George Melies had towards the potential of the very first cameras and projectors. Explain the impact of this difference for the history of narrative film.
In 1895, two brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumiere invented a variation on Edison's Peephole Kinetoscope film camera on the behest of their father Antoine, who had seen Edison's effort on display in Paris a year earlier. They called it the Cinematographe and they duly patented it in February of that year. They began to make films with the Cinematographe and displayed them to private audiences. One member of such an audience was George Melies. He was immediately taken by the phenomenon and attempted to purchase the Cinematographe from the Lumiere brothers without success and so set about trying to invent one himself, which he did by 1896, the Kinetographe Robert-Houdin. He would later discard the bulky and noisy camera only a year later choosing instead to purchase more advanced cameras that were made by none other than the Lumiere brothers amongst others. The Lumiere brothers’ style of filmmaking was to reflect daily life with common scenes such as a train arriving at the platform and passengers disembarking as seen in their first film in 1895, L’Arrivee d’un train en gare. Another was the depiction of hundreds of their father’s employees leaving the factory after a days work. This style depicting ‘actuality’, was filmed outdoors with just one long shot and very little if any camera movement. Also in keeping with their penchant for realism, no actors were used in their films. A particular highlight of the brothers first film was the angled shot of the train
coming into the station which showed a beautiful perspective to the audience. It should be noted that the audience, far from being bored by such straightforward visual capturing, was excited just to see moving images for the first time and their excited reactions reflected this....
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