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Precursors of film


Precursors of film

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Film as an art form grew out of a long tradition of literature, storytelling, narrative drama, art, mythology, puppetry, shadow play, cave paintings, stage magic and perhaps even dreams. In addition, the technology of film, emerged from developments and achievements much further back in human history. The study of the precursors of film is called precinema.

Early technological developments

About 2,500 years before the present - Mo-Ti, a Chinese philosopher ponders the phenomenology of an upside down image of the outside world beaming through a small hole in the opposite wall in a darkened room.

c. 350 BCE - Aristotle tells of watching an image of an eclipse beamed onto the ground through a sieve.
c. 1000 - Alhazen experiments with the same optical principle, and writes of the results.
1490 - Leonardo DaVinci describes a structure that would produce this effect.
1544 - Reinerus Gemma-Frisius, a Dutch scientist, illustrates large rooms built for the purpose of viewing eclipses by this means.
1588 - Giovanni Battista Della Porta tips off artists to this trick.
c. 1610 - Johannes Kepler refers to a construction that utilises this phenomenon as a camera obscura.
1671 - Athanasius Kircher projects images painted on glass plates with an oil lamp and a lens, his 'Magic lantern'.
1820s - Joseph Plateau: Anorthoscope; Phenakistiscope. Spindle viewers. Flip books.
1824 - Thaumatrope. Peter Mark Roget presents the persistence of vision to the world in his paper Explanation of an optical deception in the appearance of the spokes of a wheel when seen through vertical apertures. The article is often incorrectly cited as Persistence of Vision with Regard to Moving Objects, or On the Persistence of Vision with Regard to Human Motion, and given an incorrect date.
1831 - Faraday's Law of electromagnetic
1834 - The Zoetrope (U.S.), a.k.a., the Daedalum (England).

Victorian innovations, c.1860-1901

1861 - Henri DuMont patents an apparatus for "reproducing successive phases of motion", British Patent 1,457.
1861 - The Kinematoscope is invented. This is a series of stereoscopic pictures on glass plates, linked together in a chain, and mounted in a box. The viewer turns a crank to see moving images.
1872 - Eadweard Muybridge designs the zoopraxiscope. French astronomer Pierre Jules Cesar Janssen develops a camera with a revolving photographic plate that makes exposures at regular, automatic intervals.
1877 - Muybridge begins experimenting with "serial photography" (or "chronophotography"), taking multiple exposed images of a running horse (see main Muybridge article).
1878 - George Eastman manufactures photographic dry plates the same year Thomas Edison invents the first electric incandescent light bulb, archaically known as a magic lantern.
1880 - Muybridge begins projecting his studies of figures in motion.
1881 - Louis Lumiere develops a "dry plate" process with gelatin emulsion.
1882 - Etienne-Jules Marey, a French physiologist, makes a series of photographs of birds in flight. Hannibal Goodwin sells an idea to George Eastman, who markets it as "American film" : a roll of paper coated with emulsion.
1886 - Louis Le Prince patented his process for "the successive production of objects in motion by means of a projector".
1887 - Ottomar Anschütz creates the electrotachyscope, which presents the illusion of motion with transparent chronophotography.
1889 - William Friese Greene developed the first "moving pictures" on celluloid film, exposing 20 ft of film at Hyde Park, London. George Eastman improves on his paper roll film, substituting the paper with a plastic film base.
1890 - Friese Greene patents his process, but was unable to finance manufacturing of it, and later sold his patent. [1]
1891 - Edison patents the Kinetoscopic camera invented by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, which takes moving pictures on a strip of film (this was one of many inventions for which Edison claimed credit). A lighted box was used to view the pictures, the viewer was required to turned a handle to see the pictures "move". First called "arcade peepshows", these were to soon be known as nickelodeons. Fred Ott's Sneeze is the first Kinetographic film.
1893 - Edison Laboratories builds a film studio, in West Orange, New Jersey, dubbed the Black Maria. It was built on a turntable so the window could rotate toward the sun throughout the day, supplying natural light for the productions.
1894 - Louis Lumiere invents the cinematograph a single-unit camera, developer, and movie projector. Kinetoscopes, meanwhile, were popular and profitable. On January 7, W.K. Dickson receives a patent for motion picture film.
1895 - The Arrival of a Train premiered on a large screen December 28 at the Grand Cafe in Paris, France. Louis and his brother Auguste Lumiere also filmed Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory that year, while in the US Woodville Latham combined a Kinetoscope with a projecting device. People were avidly watching nickelodeons on Broadway in New York City.
1896 - Edison loses W. K. Dickson who joins with other inventors and investors to form the American Mutoscope Company. The company manufactured the mutoscope as a rival to the Kinetoscope and, like Edison, produced films for its invention. Expanding on the idea, American Mutoscope then developed the "biograph" which was a projector allowing films to be shown in theatres to a large audience rather than in single-user nickelodeons. Edison entered the competition for development of a large projector he called the Vitascope. This year also debuted the work of first female film director, Alice Guy-Blaché's The Cabbage Fairy. Vitascope Hall in New Orleans opened in June of this year.
1897 - US President William McKinley's inauguration was filmed, the first US newsreel. In England the Prestwich Camera is patented.
1899 - With the success of the biograph, American Mutoscope changed its name to American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. In England Edward R. Turner and F. Marshall Lee create chronophotographic images through red, green and blue filters and project them with together with a three-lens projector.
1900 - Synchronized sound was first demonstrated in at the Paris Exposition with a sound-on-disc system.

See also

Home | Up | List of years in film | Precursors of film | History of animation | Silent film

Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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