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Chapter 1

COMN 2314 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Motion Picture Patents Company, George Kleine, Vitagraph Studios

Communication Studies
Course Code
COMN 2314
Joseph Kispal- Kovacs

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Chapter 1: The movies begin
Why did movies appear in the late 19th century ?
# of factors in the 1890s that allowed motion pictures to take off was:
1) The scientific impulse:
- The number of technologies by scientists and inventors
- photography and cinema were the newest and most effective tools avalible to make a realistic
record of human events and the physical world.
- the pre-history of the movies included a number of devices that anticipate the invention of
cinema in the late 19th century in their efforts to create the illusion of realistic motion through the
manipulation of images: the magic lantern, the fantasmagorie, the stereopticon, and serial
- the first 10 years documentary films were called actualities. a lot of films were made in this
genre at the time. They were scenes of everyday life( ex: feeding a baby) -> no movement of
camera , runs for 45 secs, video is soundless musicians would play along to the images.
2) The social context:
- Industrlization , working class, urbanization and the need for cheap entertainment for new
working class
- Countries were developing( ex:America)
- Modernization & growth of mass urban population helped to develop entertainment ( ex:
circus, amusement parks ) keeping working class / humans amused. ( created the demand for
cheap entertainment for the new urban industrial working class)
Where did movies begin? Serial photography pioneers
Eadweard Muybridge:
- 1877, the horse in motion
- He set up a battery of cameras to conduct an experiment. He wanted to answer for Leland
Stanford( his patron) whether a horse, in full stride, lifts all of its four legs off the ground
at anytime. To conduct this research he took 12 cameras to take photos

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- Used his invention the zoopraziscope. By putting the photos together he realized that he
can create the illusion of movement
- This device was a kind of circular wheel that allowed drawings and still photographs to
be projected onto a screen
Thomas Edison :
- Edison & Dickson came up with the Kinetoscope in 1893 & in 94 began charging
amusement park patrons money to view moving images in this peep show viewing
- Was not a financial success because only one person can view it at a time
- Edison developed the vitascope projector in 1896 to compete with the Lumiere brothers
Auguste and Louis Lumiere:
- French businessmen whose family own a factory that produced photographic equipment
- Began to experiment with the idea of moving pictures and were the first to develop a
Cinematographe ( A camera/projector) that records and project moving images on a big
- December of 1895 they put on a show and charged admission for viewers to see short
films that they made( ex: 1. Workers Exiting the factory, 2. A Train arriving at the
station in a la ciotat)
- 1. They set up a camera and filmed a scene of their own employees exiting their factory
at the end of a shift. the first reflexive film
- 2. Celebration of industrial technology. The steam engine and passenger cars that
constitute the narrative centre of this short clip are also products of the same industrial
society that made possible its mechanical representation
- Entered the American market in june 1896
- Beginning of the motion picture industry
The Social Context:
In the late 19th century there was many forms of entertainment: Circus, Wild West
show, the amusement park and Vaudeville theatre. activity of the new industrial
working class
Vaudeville theatre was a little more expensive than other forms of entertainment
and attracted middle class people.
- Wealthy people were not involved in these activites
Large # of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe in the late period of
mass immigration took place in 1890 & 1920
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