SS – Film History
Plays, dramatic storytelling, dances are the foundation of filmmaking. Filmmaking draws much of it’s language and concepts from theater. These forms were around thousands of years before filmmaking, photography and motion picture. Many of the elements of filmmaking come out of them – scripts, sets, costumes/wardrobe, production, direction, actors, audience, storyboards and many more.
NOTE: There are many supposed first filmmakers. This overview history does not attempt to take a definitive stance on who was first but rather to present a timeline that honors those innovators we know of whether they are first or not.
The first patented film camera was designed in England by Frenchman Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince in 1888. He built and patented an earlier 16 lens camera in 1887 at his workshop in Leeds. The first 8 lenses would be triggered in rapid succession by an electromagnetic shutter on the sensitive film; the film would then be moved forward allowing the other 8 lenses to operate on the film. He developed a single lens camera in 1888 resulting in what is thought to be the first motion film sequences in the world. His camera still exists with the National Media Museum in Bradford in Northern England.
Louis Le Prince mysteriously vanished from a train on 16 September 1890. His body and luggage were never found.
- Roundhay Garden Scene
The earliest celluloid film was shot by Louise Le Prince using the Le Prince single-lens camera made in 1888. It was taken in the garden of the Whitley family house in Oakwood Grange Road, Roundhay, a suburb of Leeds, Yorkshire, Great Britain. The date was likely October 14, 1888. It shows Adolphe Le Prince (Le Prince’s son), Mrs. Sarah Whitley, (Le Prince’s mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley and Miss Harriet Hartley. The subjects/actors are shown walking around in circles, laughing. He shot the film on celluloid with 1¾ inch width. According to Adolphe Le Prince, who assisted his father at Leeds, Roundhay Garden was shot at 12 frame/sec.
WATCH IT: http://youtu.be/nR2r__ZgO5g
- Leeds Bridge
The 2nd earliest known celluloid film, which was shot by Louis Le Prince using the Le Prince single-lens camera made in 1888. He recorded traffic on Leeds Bridge from an upstairs window of No 19 Bridge End, then Hicks the Ironmongers in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. According to Adolphe Le Prince, who assisted his father at Leeds, Leeds Bridge was shot at 20 frame/s.
“Cinematography”. National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. Archived from the original on 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
BBC Education – Local Heroes Le Prince Biography at the Wayback Machine (archived November 28, 1999), BBC, archived on 1999-11-28
The cinématograph is a motion picture film camera, which also serves as a film projector and printer. It was invented in the 1890s and patented February 12, 1892. Léon Guillaume Bouly coined the term “cinematograph”, which translates in Greek to “writing in movement” and patented the device. Due to a lack of money, Bouly was not able to pay the fee for his patent the following year, and Auguste and Louis Lumière’s (aka the Lumière Brothers; interestingly Lumière mean light in French) engineers bought the license. Two Bouly Cinématographes are conserved at the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Métiers, Paris.
The Lumière Brothers’s first film is Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon, made in 1894 shown in 1895 at the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, along with 9 other short movies.
La Sortie des Usines a Lyon
(Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon)
Is a short black and white silent film directed and produced by Louis Lumière. The film consists of a single scene in which workers leave the Lumiere factory. The workers are mostly female who exit the large building 25 rue St. Victor, Montplaisir on the outskirts of Lyon, France, as if they had just finished a day’s work. This 46-second movie was filmed by means of the Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a film projector and developer. The flm was made in 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and at a speed of 16 frames per second. At that rate, the 17 meters of film length provided a duration of 46 seconds, holding a total of 800 frames.
La Sortie/Workers Leaving was shown on 28 December 1895 at the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, along with nine other short movies.
Abel, Richard. Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. 1st ed. London: Routledge, 2004.
“Lumière”. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2007. Archived from the original on 25 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
“Alternative titles”. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
Chardère (1985), p.71,81,107,109.
Stephen Herbert onhttp://victorian-cinema.net/bouly on June 7, 2014