MIT 2000 Film History Lecture

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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

Film History November 1, 2011 - Slide 2 - Kinetoscope involved 15 seconds of viewing time - Slide 3 - Other kinetoscope parlors started opening up in New York, Chicago, Toronto - Inventors provided sole source of film for these kinetoscope; started editing in worlds first film studio - They shot footage about things relating to movement (acrobats, dancers, etc.) Not compelling - Replaced in 1900 because of projector - Slide 4 - Can share experience of watching movies with projector - Lumiere - First commercial showing in Paris in 1895. First instance where people sit down together and watch a movie in a shared, collective experience - Dickson invented Biograph Projecter in 1896 - By late 1890’s there’s a strong advancement in terms of being able to watch films. - Slide 5: Showings: Phase One, 1895-1905 - No new media ever comes entirely invented on its own terms - Vaudeville shows common in 1890’s. It became a show; performer doing a juggling act followed by 10 minutes of film or something. It wasn’t as attractive as a live performer. - Penny Arcades; started showing films, they would partition off indoor spaces and show films as part of the arcade experience. This is important because you have to think about the cultural respectability that existed with vaudeville and film at this time - Film wasn’t high culture at this time - Traveling shows came and showed movies - Three ways you saw movies (short ones) til 1905: vaudeville, penny arcades, traveling shows - Usually not telling a story, just showing something doing something. - Slide 6: Nickolodeon Era (1905-1918) - Stand alone movie cinemas come about. Permanent, set up exclusively for film viewing. - Which new media advanced slowly and which ones advanced fast? Commercial film spread quickly. - People were viewers, not users. No expertise was involved in viewing a film. - Communal experience. Way to socially engage with people. - Get long story in short period of time. Way to initiate people into a broader culture. - 18 000 nickolodeons by 1914 in US - For the masses; anyone can experience film. - Length of film went from 1 or 2 minutes to 15 minutes. - In the 1920’s “feature films” were an hour long. - Slide 7: Nickelodeon: Audience Growth - Urbanization; lends itself very well to cinema experience. By 1920 50% of Canada was urban. - Industrialization; films were escapism from factory life. Public space open to women just as much as men. - Disposable Income; more money to spend on movies. The person in 1930 has double the amount of income as someone in 1880. - More leisure time; in 1890 people worked avg. of 60 hours a week. By 1930 that’s down to 42 hours. - Popularity of Tim Hortons; people eating out more because of work, traveling more due to jobs, etc. Not just because food is good. - Why did cinema become so popular? Don’t just talk about innovation of cinema itself, need to talk about social structure factors: people had more leisure time; spent it at the movies. - Slide 8: Leisure and Culture - Low culture on left in 1910; High culture on right in 1910. - Film is initially regarded as low culture. - Examples today of low culture: graffiti, strip club, hanging out at Walmart, community colleges, etc. - Slide 9: Nickelodeon/Low Culture - darkness of theater is attractive to youth because they can make out? - campaigns to take film out of vaudeville so by 1918 there was little film being shown in vaudeville shows; almost exclusively in nickelodeons - concerned that films would be a draw to bring young people into vaudeville. Vaudeville was too ‘sexually arousing’. If they took film out of there, it would take away some of the attraction for youth. Successful at separating film from vaudeville - Slide 10: The Story of Film Documentary - Slide 11: Silent Fil
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