CIN 2190: Reading #1 Jan 15th 2013
The Invention and Early Years Of the Cinema: 1880s1904:
19th century saw a vast proliferation of visual forms of popular culture.
Circuses, “freak shows”, amusement parks and music halls provided other form of inexpensive
entertainment. In the United States, numerous ramatic troupes toured, performing in the theaters and opera
houses which at that time existed even in small towns.
The cinema was to offer a cheaper way of providing visual sorts of entertainment to the masses.
The cinema was invented during the 1890s. It appeared in the wake of the industrial revolution as did the
telephone(1876) and the phonograph(1877) and the auto mobile(developed during the 1880s and 18902).
Cinema was the basis of a large industry.
The invention of Cinema:
Preconditions for motion pictures:
1. Scientists had to realize that the human eye will perceive motion if a series of slightly different images is
place before it in rapid succession minimally around 16/second.
2. A technological requirement for the cinema was the capacity to project a rapid series of images on a
3. A third prerequisite for the invention of the cinema was the ability to use photography to make successive
pictures on a clear surface.
4. The cinema would require that photographs be printed on a base fliexible enough to be passed through a
5. Experimenters needed to find a suitable intermittent mechanism for their cameras and projectors. Strip
of film sliding continuously past the gate would create a blur unless the light source was quite dim.
A number of optical toys were marketed that gave an illusion of movement by using a small number of
drawings, each altered somewhat.
1832, Belgian Physicist Joesph Plateau and Austrian geometry professor Simon Stampfer independently
created the device that came to be called the Phenakistoscope.
The Zoetrope invented in 1833 contained a series of drawings on a narrow strip of paper inside a revolving
“Magic lanterns to project glass lantern slides but there had been no way to flash large numbers of images
fast enough to create the illusion of motion.
The exposure time would have to be short enough to take sixteen or more frames in a single second. Still
photograph was made on a glass plate in 1826 by Claude Niépce, but required an exposure time of eight
hrs. Only one copy of each image was possible. 1839▯ Henry Fox Talbot introduced negatives made on paper. It became around this time that is was
possible to print photographic images on glass lantern slides and project them.
1888▯ George Eastman devised a still camera that made photographs on rolls of sensitized paper/ This
camera, which he name th Kodak, simplified photography so that unskilled amateurs could take pictures.
The film was intended for still cameras, but inventors could use the same flexible material in designing
machines to take and project motion pictures (though it was apparently about a year before the stock was
improved enough to be practical).
Major precursors of Motion Pictures:
1878▯ photographer Eadweard Muybridge was asked by exgovernor of California Leland Stanford to find a
way of photographing running horses so as to facilitate the study of their gaits.
1882▯ French physiologist Etienne Jules Marey studied the flight of birds and other rapid animal
movements by the means of a photographic gun. Shaped like a rifle, it exposed 12 images around the edge
of a circular glass plate that made a single revolution in one second.
Marey was the first to combine flexible film stock and an intermittent mechanism in photographing motion.
Emile Reynaud▯ 1877 he had built an optical toy, the Projecting Praxinscope. This was a spinning drum,
rather like the Zoetrope but one in which viewers saw the moving images in a series of mirrors rather than
1892▯ he regularly gave public performances using long, broad strips of hand painted frames. Theses were
the first public exhibitions of moving images thought the effect on the screen was jerky and slow.
1888▯ six years before the first commercial showings of moving photographs
Augstin Le Prince , working in England was able to make some brief films shot at about 16 frames/second
using Kodak’s recently introduced paper roll film.
1888> Thomas Edison already successful inventor of the phonograph and electric light bulb, decided to
design machines for making and showing moving photographs.
The Kinetoscope was a peephole device that ran the film around a series of rollers. Viewers activated it by
putting a coin in a slot.
35 mm film stock with four perforations per frame has remained the norm.
forty six second frames per second much faster than the average speed later adopted for silent filmmaking.
Small studio called the “black Maria” on the grounds of Edison’s New Jersey laboratory and were ready for
production by January 1893.
1894▯ the first k