Lecture: History of Film (Listen and Read)

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Lecture: History of Film
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So, today we are going to talk a little bit about the history of film.
Contrary to what most children think today,
there've not always been movies…..
Can you imagine a world where you can't pay money to see the most recent 3D movie,
or a color film at the local 1-dollar theatre?
Yeah, No thank you…..
The history of film began in the late 1800's, with the invention of the first motion-picture cameras
and the establishment of the first film production companies and cinemas.
These were not your average modern movie companies.
So where did it all begin?
Who was it that thought to create film so that things could be photographed in movement?
When we look way back at the first film experiment,
it takes us back to 1877…..
Edward Muybridge successfully photographed a horse named Sallie Gardner
in fast motion using a series of 24 stereoscopic cameras,
which was basically a camera with two lenses next to each other
to take pictures one right after the other.
The main purpose of the exercise was to determine whether a running horse ever had all four legs lifted off the ground at once.
The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse's,
and each of the camera shutters was controlled by a tripwire that went off as the horse ran by.
So! They were 21 inches apart to cover the 20 feet taken by the horse stride,
taking pictures at one thousandth of a second.
Photographic series like these were a primitive motion picture.
Okay, awesome, so who tried it next?
The second experimental film, Roundhay Garden Scene, filmed by Louis Le Prince in 1888,
is now known as the earliest surviving motion picture.
By modern standards it's barely a home-video
as its runtime is just over two seconds and only shows a few people walking through a garden.
From there, movies were slow to take off and slow to develop into the epic entertainment we know today.
From then on, films were initially shown as a novelty in special venues,
where they were an exhibition in variety theatres, or, presented by traveling showmen in tent theatres,
which they took around to the fairs in country towns.
Films were mostly silent films at that time
because matching the image with sound was not technically possible.
No practical method for recording and playing sound was designed until 1923,
so, for the first thirty years of their history, movies were silent.
However, they were accompanied by live musicians,
and sometimes sound effects, and even commentary spoken by the showman or projectionist.
In the end, the mouths moved but no sound came out from the film itself.
That advancement in technology would take quite a while to perfect.
So now, we already know that technology was nowhere near the state it's at right now,
so how did they get all the shots for the movies?
The first movie cameras were fastened directly to the head of their tripod or other support,
often times leveled with some crude janky method.
The earliest movie cameras were thus effectively fixed during the course of the shot,
and hence the first camera movements were the result of mounting a camera on a moving vehicle.
Something like a primitive Gopro.
But around the early 1900s
movie producers began getting very creative with their films,
mounting cameras on rotating platforms,
introducing artificial lighting features,
and generating longer plot lines.
In this way, through technological advancement and creative ambition,
the movies were born.
Fairly quickly, producers were making movies that were as long as two and a half hours.
Imagine, two and half hours of silent voices, no CGI, no explosions.
They expanded to filming the news,
building large studios, and playing up personalities,
creating the first film stars.
Circumstances surrounding some of the more successful companies, who happened to be based in Los Angeles
led to an isolated market in that area,
the birth of Hollywood, and the rest is history.
Try to think about all the changes that have happened in the last century
That have led to what all goes into making a movie now.
Pretty crazy huh?
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