The History of the Motion Picture

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The History of the Motion Picture

Who Invented Cinema, the Camera, or Film?

The first machine patented in the United States that showed animated pictures or movies was a device called the "wheel of life" or "zoopraxiscope". Patented in 1867 by William Lincoln, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit in the zoopraxiscope. However, this was a far cry from motion pictures as we know them today. Modern motion picture making began with the invention of the motion picture camera.

The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895. But in truth, several others had made similar inventions around the same time as Lumiere. What Lumiere invented was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector called the Cinematographe, three functions covered in one invention.

The Cinematographe made motion pictures very popular, and it could be better be said that Lumiere's invention began the motion picture era. In 1895, Lumiere and his brother were the first to present projected, moving, photographic, pictures to a paying audience of more that one person.

The Lumiere brothers were not the first to project film. In 1891, the Edison company successfully demonstrated the Kinetoscope, which enabled one person at a time to view moving pictures. Later in 1896, Edison showed his improved Vitascope projector and it was the first commercially, successful, projector in the U.S..

"The cinema is an invention without a future" - Louis Lumière

General History of Cinema - Motion Pictures

- History of Cinematography from 500 BC!
From 1800 to 1850 covers early photography and from 1850 to 1900 early attempts at "moving photography"
- Film History by Decade
Chronology of film's history, both the technology and the artistry.
- Animated Gif: Shadow the Magnificent
This film estimated to be from 1896 or 1897 is one of the earliest projected films.
- Motion Picture Loudspeakers

Motion Picture Innovators

Eadweard Muybridge

San Francisco photographer, Eadweard Muybridge conducted motion-sequence still photographic experiments and is called the "Father of the motion picture" even though he did not make films in the manner we know them as today.

Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison's interest in motion pictures began before 1888, however, the visit of Eadweard Muybridge to the inventor's laboratory in West Orange in February of that year certainly stimulated Edison's resolve to invent a motion picture camera.

- History of Edison Motion Pictures
Origins of motion pictures, the Kinetoscope, and Edison Motion Pictures.

Lumiere Brothers
- The Lumiere Brothers
Inventors of the cinematographic process.

History of Film Stock
- One Hundred Years of Film Sizes
Whereas film equipment has undergone drastic changes in the course, 35 mm has remained the universally accepted film size. We owe the format to a great extent to Edison (see photo) - in fact 35 mm was once called the Edison size.

- Chronology of Eastman Kodak Motion Picture Film
In 1889, the first commercial transparent roll film, perfected by Eastman and his research chemist, was put on the market. The availability of this flexible film made possible the development of Thomas Edison's motion picture camera in 1891.

- Ancient photo & film
In 1904, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere patented the first commercially successful color photography process - simple good essay, nicely illustrated.

- History of sub-35 mm Film Formats
Edison and Lumiere brothers discussed, lots of illustrations, easy to understand essay.

History of the Motion Picture Cameras

Mickey Mouse's official birthday is November 18, 1928 when he made his first film debut in Steamboat Willie. This was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon released. However, the first Mickey Mouse Cartoon ever made was Plane Crazy in 1928, it was the third cartoon released. Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse and the multi-plane camera.

Edison Motion Pictures - History

Thomas Edison's interest in motion pictures began before 1888, however, the visit of Eadweard Muybridge to his laboratory in West Orange in February of that year certainly stimulated his resolve to invent a camera for motion pictures. Muybridge proposed that they collaborate and combine the Zoopraxiscope with the Edison phonograph. Although apparently intrigued, Edison decided not to participate in such a partnership, perhaps realizing that the Zoopraxiscope was not a very practical or efficient way of recording motion. In an attempt to protect his future, he filed a caveat with the Patents Office on October 17, 1888, describing his ideas for a device which would "do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear" -- record and reproduce objects in motion. He called it a "Kinetoscope," using the Greek words "kineto" meaning "movement" and "scopos" meaning "to watch."

One of Edison's first motion picture and the first motion picture ever copyrighted showed his employee Fred Ott pretending to sneeze. One problem was that a good film for motion pictures was not available. In 1893, Eastman Kodak began supplying motion picture film stock, making it possible for Edison to step up the production of new motion pictures. He built a motion picture production studio in New Jersey. The studio had a roof that could be opened to let in daylight, and the entire building was constructed so that it could be moved to stay in line with the sun.

C. Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat invented a film projector called the Vitascope and asked Edison to supply the films and manufacture the projector under his name. Eventually, the Edison Company developed its own projector, known as the Projectoscope, and stopped marketing the Vitascope. The first motion pictures shown in a "movie theater" in America were presented to audiences on April 23, 1896, in New York City.

The Kinetoscope

"Kinetoscope" comes from the Greek words "kineto" meaning "movement" and "scopos" meaning "to watch."

Timeline for Inventing Entertainment

The following timeline focuses on major events in Thomas Edison's personal life and on his motion picture and phonograph innovations.

Film Projectors for Motion Pictures

The Edison Company developed its own projector known as the Projectoscope or Projecting Kinetoscope in November 1896, and abandoned marketing the Vitascope.

History of Edison Motion Pictures

Origins of motion pictures, the Kinetoscope, and Edison Motion Pictures.

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