The origins of films in the early 19th century
Thy early nineteenth century brought about the change that altered the concepts of simple photography, spearheading and moving through technological advances. The creation of photography was the basis of modern motion pictures; the study of human and animal locomotion and the discovery of the illusion of motion using still images captured by a regular camera was life-altering and there has been no looking back. Films have become a way of life, for modern times, as we cannot fathom not watching movies, which is a social as well as a cultural activity in recent times.
The development of modern films has seen great transformations through achievements that are a result of accidental efforts, many times, through commercial necessities and more often than not, artistic expressions. We cover only the origins of film and cinemas that are pertinent for those studying the matter.
It is safe to say that the development of this medium has led to the captured imaginations of millions across the world. The year 1891 saw the invention of the kinetoscope by Thomas Edison, which he worked on alongside this laboratory assistant William Dickson.
The kinetoscope is generally thought to the predecessor of the motion pictures. It consisted of the celluloid strip of film, that is rapidly spooled between the lightbulb and the lens, with sequential images to give the feeling of moving picture. The instrument gained popularity and the Edison Company started to install the device at amusement parks, hotel lobbies, and penny arcades. The kinetoscope parlors, people could pay 25 cents for admission and to a bank of machines for viewing.
Louis Lumière is Frenchman who thought that the movie would soon fade out, although the opposite proved to be true. Lumière company representatives were traveling around Europe showing their half-hour productions for the viewing of mass audiences. In the US, the first motion picture was screened in 1896, at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in Herald Square, New York City.
Films and motion pictures had a profound impact on society and the early viewers; the public’s firm understanding was far removed from the contemporary meaning of same. Films and movies as we know nowadays are technological wonders considering the improvements in instruments and editing facilities available to us. The history of films and film studies is a vast topic that one needs to study and dissect over the years to understand with clarity the concepts and the origins of this medium of art.