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The Great Pioneers
#1
This is devoted to the first people who made motion pictures possible, without revisiting all the well-known narrative of discoveries and disputes about who was first etc. Suffice it to say these people - and some unknown - were the great pioneers of what has become one of the world's greatest industries, whether by accident or by working themselves into destruction (eg Friese-Greene) and the existence of Youtube has made it possible for a wider audience to appreciate these origins. (At least temporarily, as copyrights are jealously guarded in some cases).
We also need to pay great tribute to Paul Killiam, whose collection of items "from the first quarter-century of film" is such a rich source of embryonic material.
Edweard Muybridge is sometimes credited with the first pictures of moving objects, with his multiple-camera technique and "zo-praxoscope". He certainly produced moving images on a wall or screen, but by using the technology of the zoetrope rather than action that could be described as "filmed". Niceties like this are the cause of many a dispute. Friese-Greene was already experimenting with celluloid for moving film images in 1885.
The "first film" will probably never be identified and will be disputed anyway, but a good contender is Louis Le Prince with his Round Hay Garden from 1888, in Leeds, England
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myQpkIlv_lw
However, Edison's "first ever film" - unquestionably from 1889 - is of much poorer quality, which brings doubt on the origins of the "earlier" footage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDmAxdLvdQ4
and it's good that tribute is paid to Muybridge's work.
And so we progress to the Lumiere brothers, who gave their first "public" showing of a moving film in 1895. Just how "public" it was in reality is open to question, since the audience members seem to have been specially invited - including Georges Melies. The attraction was of course the celebrated exit of workers from the Lumiere lighting equipment company
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nj0vEO4Q6s
somewhat less than a minute of footage.
Although the hapless Freise-Greene was hard at his labours at this time, he produced nothing that seems to have survived, whilst his compatriot R. W. Paul was prolific from 1895 and 1896 onwards, and most of his work has been preserved.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz79-O0lXTQ
Inspired, Melies bought a camera from Paul and began making his own films in Paris. Reputedly, whilst filming a passing bus, the camera jammed, producing a still image, and when the film started moving again the bus had passed. The impression given was that the bus had disappeared instantly, leaving the background clear, and Melies - who had made his living as a conjurer on the music hall circuits - was delighted. He also realised that by reversing the film the bus could be made to appear again, and so the first "camera trick" was born.
It wasn't long before his creative imagination began to realise the possibilities of moving film effects, and in 1896 he released The Haunted Castle, full of stop-frame, transformation and other illusions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPmKaz3Quzo
 
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#2
Spanning Still and Motion - Muybridge
Edweard Muybridge (1830 - 1904) did not create motion pictures, but he was the first to publicly show moving images produced with the aid of electricity. His improvements to still photography and his pioneering work on moving images ensure his place in history.                                   


[Image: i-rSZzKtq-Th.jpg] 
Source: Edweard Muybridge Online Archive                                     

Born in Kingston, Gt. Britain, Edward Muggeridge emigrated to the USA as a young man and sold books, drawings and sketches. Inevitably, early photographs also came his way, and that's where he saw the future.
He secured the financial backing of Leland Sanford, the railroad tycoon who was also fanatical about horses. He charged the name-changing Muybridge  to prove his theory that in fast movement, all four feet of a horse are off the ground momentarily. After long months of work, Muybridge achieved it in 1878. Using electrical wires for switching, Muybridge rigged a bank of 24 stills cameras along a course, capturing every stride and movement. By mounting the photos side by side and sliding them across an aperture, "moving pictures" appeared as the horse made its run.
[Image: 220px-The_Horse_in_Motion.jpg]
It was a new development of the ancient Chinese system of graduated drawings, rather like the "flick pictures" so familiar on corners of notebook pages etc. and which the ancient Greeks developed into discs.
William Horner had perfected his zoetrope in 1834, a rotary display of graduated images that produced the illusion of motion, and Muybridge called his development of the idea his "zo-opraxiscope".
Muybridge exhibited and lectured on his work using the negatives from his photographs as a continuous series projected on to a wall at great enlargement, enabling an audience to see them collectively. Well before any other cinematic pioneer, and over 20 years before the Lumiere brothers  did their first screenings.
 
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#3
Siegmund Lubin (1851-1923)
[Image: lubin.jpg]



Siegmund Lubin, with his Lubin Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, was one of Edison’s earliest rivals in the motion picture business and remained a vigorous force in film-making, equipment manufacture and exhibition until the beginning of the First World War. Siegmund Lubszynski emigrated to the United States from Prussia (Poland) in 1876 and travelled the entire country as a salesman of jewellery, metal polish, spectacles and other goods. Settling in Philadelphia in 1882, he opened an optical manufacturing and retail business at 21 South 8th Street in 1885, particularly exploiting two patents for a novel form of eyeglasses. In late 1896 he developed the Cineograph projector with help from C. Francis Jenkins, and offered it for sale in January 1897 at a price of $150.
In February Lubin became an agent for Edison films. In March he founded the Cineograph Exhibition Service for vaudeville theatres, and on 15 May 1897 he began making films with Unveiling of the Washington Monument. He produced many short comedies and actualities, including local scenes of preparation for the Spanish-American War and battle re-creations, but the staple of his early filmmaking was re-created boxing films, using either ‘counterparts’ for the original fighters, or the boxers themselves re-staging fights. Like other companies at the time, Lubin re-made any appealing title from other companies, producing among others versions of The Great Train Robbery, Personal, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and duplicated for his own sale many films of Edison, Melies, Pathe, and others, advertising that his stock included “any film made anywhere in the world.”
Through 1903 Lubin was constantly battling patent infringement suits brought by Edison, briefly fleeing the country in 1901 and temporarily ceasing production in 1903. By September 1907 Lubin was releasing three titles a week from new studios at 926 Market Street, and in 1908 he joined the Motion Picture Patents Company, ending his long legal battles. Throughout this period Lubin films were aggressively priced for the market, undercutting Edison’s and his competitors’ rates. Lubin films were characteristically sensational in content: a film of the Thaw-White scandal, The Unwritten Law, was made in 1907 while the gripping murder trial was still in progress.
Lubin bought a 1000 seat movie house in Philadelphia in late 1906; by 1908 he was operating a chain of nearly 100 theatres on the East Coast, the nucleus of the later Stanley-Warner circuit. In 1912 he abandoned his Lubinville studios at 20th Street & Indiana in Philadelphia to move to a 500 acre estate in Jacksonville, across the Schuylkill River from Valley Forge, which featured a spacious modern printing laboratory. Frank Borzage, Henry King, and Oliver Hardy began their careers as Lubin actors, but the company developed no major stars who stayed with the firm.
Not only price competitive, Lubin was also a vigorous promoter, installing luxurious fronts on his theatres and promoting his 1914 serial The Beloved Adventurer with a book-length novelization illustrated with scenes from the film. As he turned 65, Lubin sold his company to the Vitagraph Corporation of America in August 1916 and retired from the motion picture business. He died at Ventnor, New Jersey, 11 September 1923.
Of the early American companies, including Edison, Biograph, Selig and Vitagraph, Lubin was the only one to attempt to create a vertically integrated firm melding production, distribution, exhibition and manufacture into a single entity. But as films, audiences, and business practices became more sophisticated, they left Lubin behind, a feisty and combative figure who exemplified the rough-and-tumble days of the beginnings of the film industry.
Reprinted from the e-book "Norvell Hardy - The Early Years"
http://norvell-hardy.co.uk

 
 
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#4
The Founding Prince of Cinematography
There are some "firsts" that pose more questions than they answer. For example, when the first football team was formed, what was its purpose, as there was no other team  to play against?

The life and work of French-born  Louis Le Prince is similarly as puzzling, as is the unsolved mystery of his disappearance at the age of 49, and the puzzle surrounds the equipment he worked with.

[Image: 150px-Louisleprincerestored.png]

But there is little doubt that he invented the motion picture camera using a paper film roll, and projected at least two different displays of continuously moving motion in 1888.  Ten years earlier, Muybridge had perfected the "moving stills" system using multiple cameras and the kind of displays more associated with the zoetrope than the projector. Daguerre had perfected a chemical formula and method for coating materials for photographic purposes, but at least there was an obvious reason for that - the emergence of the Photographer as a new profession for practitioners.

In between - in 1884 - George Eastman patented the "photographic roll film", which may pose the question of why he did it when there were no machines that could use it, and nobody had invented moving pictures yet.

The answer is that Eastman had already conceived the idea of a camera that could take multiple still photographs without reloading, as the "plate" cameras of the day obliged. He was in the process of inventing  the Kodak camera.

The Kodak roll film camera was granted U.S. patent no. 388,850, on September 4, 1888 and unleashed the idea of the roll film - for stills and motion pictures - to an eagerly awaiting world.

Although Eastman took all the credit for the invention of roll film, he had bought the idea and patent from Peter Houston, of Wisconsin. He was happy enough with the $5,000 he received for the patent, a huge sum in those days.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Le Prince also realised that photographic material that could be rolled and carried through a camera, would be ground-breaking in photography, and more importantly he realised that Muybridge's optical principles could be applied to rolling film, and create movement. Eastman's roll film completed his inventory of equipment and he soon got to work in Leeds, in Gt. Britain. Of equal importance is the fact that he developed the more usual multi-lens camera into a single lens design, breaking even more new ground.

Le Prince almost certainly produced the two first-ever motion pictures - Round Hay Garden and Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, both in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, and both shown to audiences in 1888.  The house in Round Hay Garden was the home of the Whitley family

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1i40rnpOsA

The motion picture - or movie - was born.

News of these inventions spread as quickly as communications systems would allow, and Le  Prince was asked to give public showings of his work all over Britain, Europe and even the USA.

Born in France and domiciled in Britain, Le Prince also had family members in the USA, and quickly saw the greater potential of the US market. In 1889 he not only travelled to  New York but immediately claimed citizenship by virtue of his family. A grand exposition of his work and ideas was planned for September 1890 in the prestigious Morris-Junel Mansion and his stardom was established. But he returned to France for a visit, and on September 13th he boarded a train from Paris to Dijon, and was never seen again. Not only did the man disappear, but his luggage too and all personal belongings and traces. It was one of the first cases in which French and British police forces co-operated in detective work, but nothing was ever found. He was legally declared dead in 1897.

Le Prince's disappearance was enough of a mystery in itself, but his actual work left a lot of questions unanswered, and most of them still are.

The main mystery is the matter of the roll film. Eastman only made his film available to the public in 1889, so what did Le Prince use in 1888? There is a roll of Le Prince's film in London's Science Museum. Its gauge is 60mm, which is an odd size for films of the day, which were generally of smaller gauge, some even just 22mm.

For his home-made camera, where did he source the special lens, the first of its kind? Why would a specialist glass maker produce a lens for something that hadn't been invented?

Why was Le Prince in France in the same month as his great exposition in New York? Transatlantic travel was slow, unreliable and at the mercy of the weather. He could not guarantee being in New York later in the same month, when a Transatlantic voyage was involved.*

There are many theories about the disappearance of Le Prince, including a report that a man of similar appearance had been found drowned in Paris in 1890, but it's unlikely that this particular mystery will ever be solved.




*Anyone wishing to add or correct this and any other article here is welcome to do so with adequate proof, and if anyone has particular technical knowledge regarding early roll film gauges and manufacture, please contribute.
 
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#5
(26-08-2015, 11:58 PM)judgefoozle Wrote: The Founding Prince of Cinematography
There are some "firsts" that pose more questions than they answer. For example, when the first football team was formed, what was its purpose, as there was no other team  to play against?

The life and work of French-born  Louis Le Prince is similarly as puzzling, as is the unsolved mystery of his disappearance at the age of 49, and the puzzle surrounds the equipment he worked with.

[Image: 150px-Louisleprincerestored.png]

But there is little doubt that he invented the motion picture camera using a paper film roll, and projected at least two different displays of continuously moving motion in 1888.  Ten years earlier, Muybridge had perfected the "moving stills" system using multiple cameras and the kind of displays more associated with the zoetrope than the projector. Daguerre had perfected a chemical formula and method for coating materials for photographic purposes, but at least there was an obvious reason for that - the emergence of the Photographer as a new profession for practitioners.

In between - in 1884 - George Eastman patented the "photographic roll film", which may pose the question of why he did it when there were no machines that could use it, and nobody had invented moving pictures yet.

The answer is that Eastman had already conceived the idea of a camera that could take multiple still photographs without reloading, as the "plate" cameras of the day obliged. He was in the process of inventing  the Kodak camera.

The Kodak roll film camera was granted U.S. patent no. 388,850, on September 4, 1888 and unleashed the idea of the roll film - for stills and motion pictures - to an eagerly awaiting world.

Although Eastman took all the credit for the invention of roll film, he had bought the idea and patent from Peter Houston, of Wisconsin. He was happy enough with the $5,000 he received for the patent, a huge sum in those days.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Le Prince also realised that photographic material that could be rolled and carried through a camera, would be ground-breaking in photography, and more importantly he realised that Muybridge's optical principles could be applied to rolling film, and create movement. Eastman's roll film completed his inventory of equipment and he soon got to work in Leeds, in Gt. Britain. Of equal importance is the fact that he developed the more usual multi-lens camera into a single lens design, breaking even more new ground.

Le Prince almost certainly produced the two first-ever motion pictures - Round Hay Garden and Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, both in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, and both shown to audiences in 1888.  The house in Round Hay Garden was the home of the Whitley family

The motion picture - or movie - was born.

News of these inventions spread as quickly as communications systems would allow, and Le  Prince was asked to give public showings of his work all over Britain, Europe and even the USA.

Born in France and domiciled in Britain, Le Prince also had family members in the USA, and quickly saw the greater potential of the US market. In 1889 he not only travelled to  New York but immediately claimed citizenship by virtue of his family. A grand exposition of his work and ideas was planned for September 1890 in the prestigious Morris-Junel Mansion and his stardom was established. But he returned to France for a visit, and on September 13th he boarded a train from Paris to Dijon, and was never seen again. Not only did the man disappear, but his luggage too and all personal belongings and traces. It was one of the first cases in which French and British police forces co-operated in detective work, but nothing was ever found. He was legally declared dead in 1897.

Le Prince's disappearance was enough of a mystery in itself, but his actual work left a lot of questions unanswered, and most of them still are.

The main mystery is the matter of the roll film. Eastman only made his film available to the public in 1889, so what did Le Prince use in 1888? There is a roll of Le Prince's film in London's Science Museum. Its gauge is 60mm, which is an odd size for films of the day, which were generally of smaller gauge, some even just 22mm.

For his home-made camera, where did he source the special lens, the first of its kind? Why would a specialist glass maker produce a lens for something that hadn't been invented?

Why was Le Prince in France in the same month as his great exposition in New York? Transatlantic travel was slow, unreliable and at the mercy of the weather. He could not guarantee being in New York later in the same month, when a Transatlantic voyage was involved.*

There are many theories about the disappearance of Le Prince, including a report that a man of similar appearance had been found drowned in Paris in 1890, but it's unlikely that this particular mystery will ever be solved.




*Anyone wishing to add or correct this and any other article here is welcome to do so with adequate proof, and if anyone has particular technical knowledge regarding early roll film gauges and manufacture, please contribute.
An amazing article about movie industry! Congratulation Judge! Smile
 
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#6
Bridging Muybridge and Friese-Greene

Even before Muybridge made his historic images of horses in motion, Etienne-Jules Marey had been fascinated by equestrian gait and movement. This Paris doctor - who specialised in blood circulation - developed equipment to capture movement on graphs and instruments in a technique he called method graphique and in 1873 published his results in La Machine Animale. His work came to the attention of Leland Stanford, the American grandee who was Muybridge's benefactor, reportedly inspiring Muybridge (qv) to intensify his work in this field.

[Image: marey.jpg]
Etienne-Jules Marey


In 1882 Marey invented a fixed-plate camera with a timed shutter, reflecting the  general increase in knowledge and experience with coated surfaces and the importance of exposure time. In the same year he set up a photographic business within Paris's Bois de Boulogne railway station and introduced a miniature track for his enclosed camera to traverse on, a technique universally adopted in the movie industry.
Marey replaced the cumbersome glass plates with long strips of coated paper in 1888, producing a series of consecutive still images. When shown in rapid sequence, moving images were created, much like Muybridge's experiments. In common with Friese-Greene (qv) Marey replaced the paper with cellulose film. Marey's technique used massive strips of cellulose 90mm wide and 1.2 metres long, making the former small glass plates seem convenient by comparison. His method was to shoot a series of still images on moving film, stopping it momentarily to expose an image - almost actual "movies" and certainly with moving film, but as with Muybridge, a sequence of still images rather than continuous photography. In effect, the principle of Eastman's Kodak camera, which used rolls of film able to be held in one place to make still photographs and rolled on to the next. Just one small step more...
Perhaps Marey's most famous cinematic achievement is "the falling cat" which is dated at both 1890 and 1894 according to source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXM8HkJv71U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF7BaQ96K48
(recommended to be watched at the slowest possible speed).
Le Priince (qv) had already made at least two authentic movie films in 1888 - the first ever - but communications were poor at that time and news of "technology" was hard to come by. But Marey is sometimes claimed to be the "founding father of cinematic technique" regardless of Le Prince, Friese-Greene, Edison and the Lumiere brothers. But his place in the history of motion film is assured, not least for the camera-track.
 
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#7
William Friese-Greene - Film History's Pitiful Genius  [Image: 220px-Williamfriesegreen.jpg]


William Friese-Greene's genius as a visionary, inventor and originator cannot be disputed, but neither can his failure as a businessman nor his naivety. And  neither can his devotion as a family man, loving husband and father to 6 children, even though that meant widespread borrowing, debt, despair and bankruptcy.
Friese-Greene is the most forlorn unsung hero of the origins of movies. Not because of any shortage of ideas - quite the opposite - but because of his personal failings and misplaced trust in others.
Not only did Friese-Greene invent a motion picture camera from scratch, he also created a system of multiple print copying ("photocopying") and he was well advanced with a system of shooting film in colour.
He was certainly not the first designer and maker of the movie camera, though he did so independently according to all known sources. In Bristol he had worked with John Roebuck Rudge, an expert in the business of the magic lantern. Rudge developed a projector that could show 7 magic lantern slides in rapid succession, giving the illusion of movement. Friese-Greene saw the potential of this for photographs and. by 1886 he and Rudge had developed their "Biophantoscope". It was more or less a multiple-projector of photographic glass plates, although Friese-Greene was already using rolls of coated paper and was exploring the potential of the new material, celluloid.
In June 1889 he patented his "chronophotographic camera". This was a roll-film camera not only using celluloid but also introducing the perforation tracks for passage through the camera. Rather like J-E Mayer's invention, the moving film was stopped to make an image. However, Friese-Greene realised that by shooting continuously there was no reason why a constantly moving image could  not be created and projected. He was working with inventor Frederick Varley around this time and - as with Rudge  - there is some doubt as to what Friese-Greene actually invented.
Undoubtedly with some excitement, he produced his celebrated "Hyde Park footage" in the same year, resulting in 20 feet of projectable film of people (and horses) meandering in London's Hyde Park.
The machine found fame in Photographic News magazine in 1890 and Friese-Greene made his historic mistake, of sending a reprint of the article to Edison in the USA.
Even worse, Friese-Greene was bankrupt within a year of his inventive achievements, having neglected to make a living for his family. The obvious remedy was to sell the patent of his chronophotographic camera, which realised £500. There is no indication of the actual buyer's identity.
By the time he was back on his feet financially, but just as eager to produce the fruits of his ingenuity, Marey and Le Prince had become established as the founders of moving image presentation. Edison's patents were also gaining ground throughout the world. Although he registered some patents regarding cameras improved in detail and capability, Friese-Greene realised that his time was over as a movie pioneer and he turned to other projects such as colour photography, photocopying and X-rays. He patented his colour process as Biocolour, but again he was overshadowed by others with similar ideas and adequate finance. Some  torrid and unpleasant litigation ensued, particularly between Friese-Greene and G.A. Smith/Charles Urban, who had developed  the Kinemacolour process. But Friese-Greene's disastrous financial history - which included bankruptcy and imprisonment - always preceded and hampered him, and many of his ideas were not truly recognised until his son Claude championed and developed them in the next generation.
 
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#8
James Williamson

In addition to the renowned camera, James Williamson, born in 1868, should be recognised as the movie pioneer who created the genre of staged "news" and drama.
The Williamson camera was the pinnacle of a career of radical technical designs that enhanced the viewing experience for audiences and gave movie-makers more scope for their ideas.It was a range of compact (for the day) box moving-film cameras, which included the Ensign and Topical models. Designed and made by Alfred Darling these are regarded as the first high-quality production cameras for use by professional cinematographers. The original selling price was £10. 10. 0, about £1,000/$1,300 in today's money). The success of manufacturing the camera aligned with the end of his film production career at the end of WW1, and the factory in Willesden, London extended its product range to film-making accessories and other kinds of cameras, including one for the "photo finish" used in horse racing. Williamson counted William Friese-Greene and G. A. Smith among his friends, so an interest in cinematography was not surprising. But he had more foresight and imagination than either, and another friend, engineer Alfred Darling, who designed and made a movie camera in 1898 to Williamson's specifications. In 1908 he was offering a movie camera that could have intertitles added whilst filming, making for continuous and smooth viewing in the days of silent films when things needed explaining. This avoided the editing, cutting and restoring to add title cards, as was done before.
With his films. just as Melies took the bland "everyday" motion film of people walking (as Louis Le Prince and Lumiere) into fantasy and drama, so Williamson took the everyday news into dramatised and stylised re-enactments. Lubin did much the same with his re-staged boxing matches.
Williamson was also the originator of the "great chase" concept that is still a staple of current movies and dramatic action. He may also have been the originator of the "slapstick" movie genre.
He made Attack On A China Mission in 1901, as a dramatisation of a contemporary news item. Other dramatisations of news stories included Stop Thief, also in 1901, in which the first-known movie "chase" appeared - 3 times! His next film, Fire, later in the same year, developed the "break to shot" technique of switching between action scenes, first used by R. W. Paul in Come Along, Do! in 1898.
In 1904 Williamson made his "slapstick" movie An Interesting Story, which presumably relates to the book the central character is absorbed in, rather than the film as a production.
Although his legacy is in movie hardware, his place in film history is in movie production and technique, and he left a canon of around 130 movies.
 
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#9
(28-04-2016, 05:22 PM)grwalker6 Wrote: Attending a course today on the misuse of substances (alcohol, drugs, etc.) and we talked about drink driving.

Found this video on Youtube from the National Film Archive of Australia; a road saefty film from 1957
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXckA4eso1A

An unpredicted dramatic ending! Who knew so much trouble could come from the simple mistake of sitting on your hat!


(Post moved from original location)
 
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#10
Remember The Ladies.....

More women worked in the film industry in creative roles in the time of silent movie pioneers, than work in the industry today. This little-known (and never-discussed) fact is being celebrated in a new project which will transform our understanding of the pioneer days of film, if it comes to fruition. It depends on "crowdfunding" and that is a personal decision, but it's worth knowing about anyway.

https://silentlondon.co.uk/2016/10/19/su...2106305569
 
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