1895
AUGUSTE (1862 - 1954) LOUIS (1864 - 1948) LUMIERE

Before their public presentation in December this year to paying customers, the Lumière's filmed a comedic scenario called 'L’Arroseur arrosé' (The Waterer Watered).

In it was the Lumière gardener François Clerc, along with a boy apprentice working in the Lumière labs, Benoît Duval. The story was of course simple and along the more modern lines of 'Denise the Menace'.

An image from the film was used in the background of a poster promoting Lumière films and their Cinématographe.

The poster (right) depicts gardener Clerc and apprentice Duval on the screen in the background.

Cinématographe Lumière Poster From 1895
 

Cinématographe Lumière Poster from 1895 (above) 

 
   
     
  Also promoted as 'The Sprinkler Sprinkled', 'Le Jardinier', 'Le Jardinier et le petit espiègle', and 'The Tables Turned on the Gardener' in English, this short film (under one minute) has been called the first true "scenario" designed to portray comedy on film however this claim is difficult to make.  
       
       
 
Eleven Seconds Of Footage From 'L’Arroseur arrosé'  From  1895
The Frame From Which The Artist Used To Create The Poster
Eleven seconds of footage from 'L’Arroseur arrosé' (above)

The frame from which the artist used to create the poster (above)

   
 
 

The film runs a little under 49 seconds and whether the first of it's kind or not, it is a step beyond that of the Lumière's Actualités which were still being made by the Lumière's and their associates. The artist (Marcellin Auzolle) took one frame to use in his rendering for the movie screen the patrons are watching in laughter - that of Duval taking his foot off the hose and the water spraying up into Clerc's face. The poster is the first known to promote an individual film because of its use of the background screen image, however the image we have today of this poster (above right) is cropped and likely not the full original poster created.

Notice the lower borders of the poster's frame are visible but the upper border is not seen. We suggest the actual poster was at least twice as high as this cropped image. The artist has placed his name vertically at the bottom right corner although it is not readable. This cropped image promotes only the Cinématographe Lumière and not the film by name. However we do believe the original poster (now lost) promoted the film in more detail.

 
       
       
 

COPY CAT FILMS & REMAKES
Soon after film pioneers had learned new ways to entertain their fledgling audiences with scenarios like the one above, we find them producing remakes and 'other versions' of their own films. Short films that had shown modest success. The ability of Lumière to draw an audience to see a gardener get soaked by his own hose was not lost on other filmmakers.

Nor were Auguste and Louis immune to repeating something that worked. They alone re-made 'L’Arroseur arrosé at least two other times. We can also include G.A. Smith, Edison, Méliès and A. G. Blache among others who had made their own versions of this very film. It was even made as late as 1900 and named "The Biter Bit".

 
       
       
 

 
       
       
 
Skladanowsky's Bioskop 1895 1895
MAXIMILLIAN SKLADANOWSKY (1863 - 1939)

Approximately 27 days (November 21, 1895) before the Lumiere screening in Paris (December 28, 1895), Skladanowsky unveils his Bioscop (also Bioskop) at the Wintergarten Hall in Berlin and screens as few as eight short films totaling about fifteen minutes. His paying customers watched as two separate filmstrips projected at a rate of 16 frames per second. Skladanowsky's Bioscop was never to be a viable piece of machinery because of its cumbersomeness.


These frames (right) from Skladanowsky's Bioscop camera/projector were from a presentation given on November 21, 1895 at the Wintergarten Hall in Berlin. They show a burlesque performer doing the old 'watch me drop me hat and it will come back to me' trick. The Bioscop could not compete with what was coming out of England, France and the US and would eventually be forgotten by time. The Bioscop (left).
Eight Frames From A Film By Skladanowsky For The Bioscop
 
       
       
 
Poster Showing Skladanowsky's November 1895 Presentations At The Wintergarten Theatre Berlin
Diagram Of The Inner Workings Of The Bioscop

This poster (above) advertising the Wintergarten Theatre presentation by Max Skladanowsky identifies the date of November 21, 1895. The program column heading promotes 'Das Bioscop!' Deac Rossell has identified these presentations by Skladanowsky at the Wintergarten in Berlin as "the first projections of film in Europe to a paying audience".

The Bioscop projector was designed to run two separate loops of film 54mm wide, projected alternately and frame by frame (back and forth). The film was transferred using an intermittent worm gear mechanism and was illuminated with individual arc lamps. This two-lens / two-strip projector was the result of Max, his father Carl and brother Emil being lanternists in the dissolving-view magic lantern art across Europe for many years.

The Bioscop achieved sixteen frames per second thereby presenting fluid motion. Bioscop diagram (right).

 
Skladanowsky's Bioscop Drawing
 
       
 

 
       
 
1895
BIRT ACRES (1854 - 1918)

Acres has the honour of having made what are disputed to be the first two publicly shown (notwithstanding the work of Le Prince) film(s) made in England. One is shot by Acres in March of this (March 30th) year. It's footage of the annual regatta between the Cambridge and Oxford sculling teams. The "documentary" is filmed using the Kineopticon which was co-developed by Acres and Robert Paul. The other film, which is found among commentators and historians, is a short scenario known as 'Incident at Clovelly Cottage' and is also made during the month of March this year. It was filmed on the property of Acres, in London. Acres also went on to develop both the Cinematoscope and Kinetic Lantern.
Birt Acres
 
Birt Acres            
 
       
       
 
Three Seconds Of The Birt Acres Film 'Rough Sea At Dover', 1895

1895
BIRT ACRES (1854 - 1918)  ROUGH SEA AT DOVER

Sometime between March and May of 1895 Acres films several more shorts, one of which he titles 'Rough Sea At Dover' (a portion of the film - left). Other short films photographed by Acres were; 'The Derby', 'The Boxing Kangaroo', 'Comic Shoe Black' and 'Arrest of a Pickpocket' as well as others.

Shortly after the production of these shorts, Acres parts company with Robert Paul. It will be almost a year before Acres looks through another lens.

Acres career will sink into history and obscurity as the career of Robert Paul will soar.

Three seconds of the short film 'Rough Sea At Dover'
'Rough Sea At Dover' was shown to an invited audience at Finsbury Technical College, London.
 
       
  The words of a reporter at the screening . . . "The second film [Rough Sea At Dover] represented the breaking of waves on the seashore. Wave after wave came tumbling on the sand, and as they struck, broke into tiny floods just like the real thing. Some people in the front row seemed to be afraid they were going to get wet, and looked to see where they could run, in case the waves came too close."  
       
 

 
       
     
 

1895
THOMAS ALVA EDISON (1847 - 1931)

Early this year Edison promotes what he calls his Kinetophones.

Edison uses rubber tubes to connect the viewer of the Kinetoscope to the Phonograph.

Viewers of the peepshow can listen to recorded music as they watch the film advance.

Although not required, there is no synchronization.

Edison's Kinetoscope  With The Kinetophones 'Rubber Tubes'

Edison's Kinetoscope (above)
with Kinetophones in use 

 
       
 

 
       
  1895
CECIL WRAY (1866 - 1944)
   
  Wray patents a combination of lens and prism, which turns the Kinetoscope into a full-fledged projector.  
       
       
 

 
     
 
Diagram Of The Latham's Looped Film Known As The 'Latham Loop'

1895
MAJOR WOODVILLE LATHAM (1838 - 1911)

A public showing of a four-minute film takes place in a storefront at 153 Broadway, New York on May 20 of this year. It was a boxing match which had been filmed by Woodville Latham and his sons Otway and Grey. The staged fight had been filmed on the roof of Madison Square Garden.

The boxers were known as 'Young Griffo' and 'Battling Barnett'. When asked by son Otway Latham whether a scene could be projected on a screen like in the Kinetoscope parlours, father Woodville answered, "You can project anything on a screen that you can see with the naked eye and which can be photographed."

Woodville Latham
Diagram Showing The Latham Loop  
Major Woodville Latham
 
       
  One month earlier to this event, the Latham men showed off their Eidolscope. The scenes were of children and one man smoking his pipe. The Eidolscope was a co-invention between Woodville Latham and William Dickson. Some commentators however have attributed the Eidolscope to one Eugene Lauste.  
       
 

In May of 1895 The New York World proudly asserted . . . . "Life size presentations they are and will be, and you won't have to squint into a little hole to see them. You'll sit comfortably and see fighters hammering each other, circuses, suicides, hangings, electrocutions, shipwrecks, scenes on the exchanges, street scenes, horse-races, football games, almost anything. You'll see people and things as they are."

In June, Woodville Latham applied for a patent for what he described as a "Projecting Kinetoscope". Latham's idea in fiming entire boxing matches instead of one-minute segments required something, which would allow the celluloid from being torn when passing through the shutter gate. Latham realized he needed what he referred to as a "supply of slack". He described this as "feeding mechanisms located between the devices for supporting the film and separate and distinct there from, one of said feeding mechanisms being constructed to uniformly feed the film and produce a predetermined supply of slack."

What ended up being devised was a 'loop' of film that buffers the shutter on each side, whether in a camera or projector. It became known as the Latham Loop. This now allowed an entire fight to be filmed on a much longer strip of film. Whatever the magazine could hold could be shot. The supply reel and the take-up spool could both be in motion with the only delay being at the shutter gate during exposure or projection (the intermittent movement). The diagram above-left shows the loop or 'supply of slack' prior to entering the gate.

 
       
       
 

 
       
 
1895
AUGUSTE (1862 - 1954) LOUIS (1864 - 1948) LUMIERE

One of the first commercial, public showings of a motion picture in France (and made with a celluloid film camera/projector), took place December 28 of 1895 at the Grand Caf√© on the boulevard des Capucines in Paris. The Lumière's used the basement to open their movie theatre known as the ‚€˜Cinematographe Lumière Freres'. A private showing of the machine (as well as experimental films) took place in March of the same year - see below. The device was the Cinematographe (below left & right), and was used in scheduled showings from that point on. It was constructed by Jules Carpentier of the Lumière factory, with Alfred Molteni adding the lamphouse, and had a claw-like mechanism in order to provide the required intermittent pull-down movement of 35mm perforated-celluloid film. The film which had two perforations per frame, was also manufactured by the Lumière business. (Image Source: Smithsonian Institute)
     
Lumiere Brothers 'Cinematographe'  Closed Front 1895
An Early Experimental Film By The Lumiere's Using The Cinematographe Called 'Workers Leaving The Factory'
Lumiere Brothers 'Cinematographe'  Opened Front 1895
The Cinematographe (closed)
'Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory'
The Cinematographe (open)
     
One of the rolls of film shown (there were ten) was titled for lack of a better term, 'Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory' [Factory La Sortie Des Ouvriers De L’ursine Lumiere] (above-centre and right). An appropriate name considering no one had yet made many films, let alone name them. As the cinema began to become a reality, the people who had worked feverishly to reach this point were much more concerned with that of the mechanics than any entertaining aspect. From this point on however, we now see that fantasy as well as realism becomes the mind set of the masses and makers, in developing more and more historical films, horrors, adventures and the like. The development of the cameras and projectors will continue, but will never again surpass the need for a never-ending spectacle on the screen, no matter what the final result.
A Portion Of The Lumiere Brothers 'Workers Leaving The Lumiere Factory'  Of 1895
The animation to the right gives an impression of what it may have looked like for patrons when seeing this film for the first time. 'Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory'
 
       
       
 
 
 

THE LUMIERE EXPERIMENTAL FILMS
The first of the Lumière private screeings took place on 22 March 1895 in preparation for the public showing in December of that year. Known as Actualités, or 'actuality' films, their repertoire of experimental films amassed to over two thousand by the year 1903.

These films of everyday life added greatly to the popular culture and by early 1896, the Lumières had opened theatres in New York, Brussels, and London, as well as in France, showing their films on the same machine which had taken them, the Cinématographe.

One such film was entitled Arrival Of A Train At La Ciotat Station or, “L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat” (right). Subtitled and catalogued as number 653, this short featured members of the Lumière family in the crowd to the right.

Several Seconds Of “L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat”  From 1895
Several Seconds Of “L'Arrivée d'un Train en Gare de la Ciotat” (above) from 1895  
 
     
 

Arrival Of A Train At La Ciotat Station was again shot two years later in 1897 but did not cause as much of a stir than it did in 1895. Today, a director wouldn't think twice about angling the camera within feet of the tracks as a train entered into the frame. We see it all the time. However, in 1895 it was a frightening thing to see, in a crowded, small room, with many people and little room to manoeuvre in your seat.

As the train approaches from a distance you realize it is coming awfully close to you. Using a diagonal frame from (right to left), the Lumières provided a sense of realism unseen before. It was the phantasmagoria all over again. Had the Lumières meant to do this or was it just by accident that their paying customers thought they were about to be killed? After all, the people walking along the tracks did not appear to be scared, and they were closer to the train than the patrons were to the screen.

Consider for a moment how long the steam engine had been in existance. And how many people had walked alongside the tracks and along platforms as the trains approached ever so close. Surely this event of seeing a train become larger and larger wasn't a new experience? Why then the hysteria in a makeshift movie theatre in 1895? Perhaps it was the unrealism of it all. How could this real looking train be actually travelling down the tracks towards us, getting bigger and bigger, closer and closer? Weren't we after all, sitting in a room nowhere near a train station and looking at a wall with a white sheet on it?

Yes, and that is exactly why patrons of early films could not understand or come to terms with the reality of what they were seeing, versus what they were experiencing. The two did not match. Whether it was a horse and rider galloping, a train arriving within a few feet of us, or a cowboy shooting a gun right into our face, the earliest of film-goers were entertained in a way that has not been seen since, and never will be again.

 
     
 

 
       
  1895
THOMAS ARMAT (1866 - 1948)
   
  Armat came up with the first projectors in the U.S. that used intermittent movement. In 1896 Armat made a deal with Thomas Edison, for Edison to manufacture them under the name Vitascope (originally made by Jenkins).  
       
       
  1895
WILLIAM KENNEDY LAURIE DICKSON (1860 - 1935)

Dickson makes the decision in April to depart the Edison labs for a closer working relationship with Woodville Latham.
 
       
       
 

 
 


 
 

1896
VICTOR PLANCHON ( - )

Planchon develops for Louis Lumière what becomes known as the Blue Label emulsion process (Etiquette bleue) for photographic plates used by the Lumière lab for manufacturing their celluloid. It has been suggested that without Planchon, the Lumière's would have accomplsihed little in the history of cinematography.

Planchon was a chemist from Paris who took over a government patholgy lab at Boulogne. Planchon's US Patent states in it's opening lines, "Be it known that I, Victor Planchon, a citizen of the French Republic, residing at Lyon, France, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Apparatus for the Manufacture of Collodion Filaments, of which the following is a specification. The present invention relates to improvements in apparatus for the manufacture of collodion filaments and the object is, to allow of simultaneously producing the filament and of coiling it for the purpose of producing regular cocoons, which allow of carrying out with great facility the final chemical operation of manufacture."

A Working Lumière Factory c. 1900
   
Lumière Factory (above) c. 1900
   
Image Source: Archives Municipales de Lyon

Not only a chemist, Planchon was also an avid student of photography and it's many processes, particularly gelatine bromide plates. He later developed a much stronger interest in celluloid. Planchon was invited to see the Cinematographe in action and in his own words later submitted,

"I had the occasion to visit Louis Lumière many times in Paris , but it was one fine day that I was able to divine, without but a word exchanged between the two of us, the birth in his marvellous mind of the general idea of the Cinematograph. Three months after our first brief glimpse, I sent the first role of film to Lyon. To our immense surprise... the Cinematograph was born, projecting life onto a piece of paper set up to act as a screen... and even then, it had all the perfection of the image that we still admire today."

     
Planchon moved to Lyon and began working full time for the Lumière laboratories. He created the Société Anonyme des Pellicules Françaises this year. At it's height, the factory would provide in excess of 40,000 metres of Cinematograph Celluloid per working day. In order to produce such quantities, three other factories were begun in Feyzin.
     
 
       
 

 
       
 
Edison's Vitascope 1896 1896
THOMAS ALVA EDISON (1847 - 1931)

Edison perfects and shows his Vitascope projector, which used the same film as the Kinetoscope. The Vitascope was the first commercially successful celluloid motion picture projector in the U.S. The Vitascope was an improved version of the Phantoscope, an invention of Francis Jenkins in 1893. Jenkins sold the rights to Edison through Thomas Armat. Edison presents the Vitascope for the first time in New York City at the Koster-Bial Music Hall, the present location of Macy‚€™s.



The Vitascope (left) was originally the Phantoscope by Jenkins. It was acquired by Edison and changed and presented as the first celluloid motion picture projector in the U.S. Its commercial debut was in 1896. (Image Source: Smithsonian Institute)
         Edison's Vitascope  
 
       
 

 
       
       
  1896
ROBERT WILLIAM PAUL (1869 - 1943)

A dramatic scenario is shot by Paul and believed to be the first of it's kind in the UK. Named The Soldier’s Courtship, the lead actor was Robert Storey.
 
       
       
  1896
EDMUD BLOCH ( - )
   
  Patents the Physiographe, which was a stereo camera, made in the shape of small binoculars.  
       
       
 

 
       
 

1896
RICHARD APPLETON ( 1856 - 1946)

Another daring new filmmaker and camera/projector designer/manufacturer was Richard Appleton. Appleton also undertook the filming of Queen Victoria's Jubilee procession in 1897.

Appleton's creation was a three part machine which also acted as a printer.

The Cieroscope was first seen this year and Appleton's vision was to film the event and process the film on the spot in order to show it immediately following the procession. This is reminiscent of today's cable news broadcasts covering news almost as it happens, almost 'live'.

Appleton brought in a railway car for his dark room. It was reported that nearly 250,000 spectators saw the Queens procession in the days following.

Appleton's Cieroscope of 1896

 
   
Appleton's Cieroscope of 1896
 
       
 

 
     
 

The Kineoptoscope 1896

1896
CECIL WRAY (1866 - 1944)

Wray's Kineoptoscope was a projecting device, which attached to a standard magic lantern. Fitted between lens and housing, the Kineoptoscope was patented in 1896 and was manufactured for Wray by lantern makers, the Riley Brothers.

It utilized the lantern's optics and light source almost as a detachable feed and take-up reel. It used no sprocket wheels but an intermittent movement containing a four-pin claw to pull down the film. Wray was an electrical engineer who began working with magic lanterns and would also assist in the English version of the Edison Kinetoscope becoming a projector in 1895.

The Kineoptoscope was sold by Wray to the Rileys.

The Kineoptoscope
 
       
 

 
     
     
 
George Albert Smith

1896
GEORGE ALBERT SMITH (1864 - 1959)

Smith uses his magic lantern background as lanternist to begin producing many short films on a camera and projector he patented. He experiments with close ups, double exposures and other trickery. He went on to create a colour process known as Kinemacolour but ran into infringement problems when sued by William Friese-Greene.

 

George Albert Smith

 
       
       
 

 
       
     
 
Charles Pathé

1896
CHARLES PATHE (1863 - 1957)

In 1896 Charles Pathé established the Soci√©t√© Path√© Fr√®res Company which became one of the biggest film production companies the industry has seen.

Soon after Pathé introduced a colour process known as Pathé Color.

Pathé was a pioneer in the birth of newsreel footage, which in turn became the forerunner of documentary films.

Charles Pathé  
The Famous Pathé Logo
 
       
     
 

 
       
     
 

PRIVATE LANTERN SCREENINGS
Up to and including 1896, private projectionists could be found providing personal screenings to the upper class and wealthy patrons throughout the world. These practitioners were traveling lanternists, magicians, and other cinema showpeople.

However, the popularity of these private engagements waned following disastrous events such as the great fire of 1897 at Societe Charite Maternelle in Paris. Celluloid being highly flammable and light source safety standards having been put into place, common public venues became the norm.

Deac Rossell's Living Pictures provides us a deeper realization of this period of transition.

A Drawing Of A 19th Century Private Lantern Screening
 
   An Evenings Entertainment - The Magic Lantern Show
 
       
     
 

 
     
 

1896
OSKAR MESSTER (1866 - 1943)

At the age of thirty, Messter introduces what will become known as the Maltese Cross. Also known as the Geneva Cross, Messter's mechanism allows for intermittent advancement of the film in a motion picture projector. This shutter device allows the frame to be seen clearly before the next frame comes into place, prevents tearing of the perforated strip and removes any flicker from the screen.

Messter will experiment with synchronized sound, and in 1903 present his Biophon projector synchronized with a Gramophone.

Oskar Messter
 
Oskar Messter
 
       
       
  1896
MAXIMILLIAN SKLADANOWSKY (1863 - 1939)
Skladanowsky and his brother Emil present commercial motion pictures first in Norway and then throughout Scandinavia. Their Norwegian venue was the Circus Variété in Oslo. Their tour lasted approximately months.
 
     
 

 
     
 

Queen Victoria in 1896 at Balmoral Castle

1896 QUEEN VICTORIA AT BALMORAL CASTLE
Queen Victoria was born (1801) before photography was discovered, and began her reign just two years following the announcement that the Daguerreotype process was being given freely to the world (1839).

Following her husband's death in 1861 she became withdrawn and upon counsel she allowed herself to be photographed not in a way similar to a royal portrait. She allowed cameras to film her on more than one ocassion as a way to gain popularity from, and trust with her subjects. Thus we have perhaps the first use of the cine camera as a way to broadcast the well being of the Monarchy to the public.

This began a long tradition of using the media as an accessibility tool. This sequence (left) shows the Queen in a carriage at Balmoral Castle, Scotland on 3 October 1896. Her daily journal entry for the event reads 'At twelve went down to below the terrace, near the ballroom, and we were all photographed by Downey by the new cinematograph process, which makes moving pictures by winding off a reel of films. We were walking up and down, and the children jumping about'.

Footage of Queen Victoria in 1896 at Balmoral Castle (above)  
   

Royal photographers William and Daniel Downey used specially made 60 mm celluloid that had four round perforations on each margin. The footage was shown at Windsor Castle a month later (November). After the gala event, Queen Victoria wrote 'After tea went to the Red drawing room, where so-called "animated pictures" were shown off, including the groups taken in September [sic] at Balmoral. It is a very wonderful process, representing people, their movements and actions, as if they were alive'. The Queen's royal memory had forgotten that the film was shot in October, not September.

 
     
 
 
     
  1896
AUGUSTE BLAISE BARON (1855 - 1938) and FREDERIC BUREAU (d.1896)

Baron and Bureau jointly work on a sound synchronization system based on the Edison Kinetophone. Bureau dies this year.
 
     
     
 

 
       
       
  1896
BIRT ACRES (1854 - 1918)
   
  Acres presented his Kinetic Lantern to the Royal Photographic Society in January this year that received this review in the Journal;  
       
  "Mr Birt Acres gave a demonstration of an apparatus which he called the Kinetic Lantern. The object of this was to throw a number of pictures upon the screen in such rapid succession as to reproduce the motion of life. The photographs for use in the lantern were taken in a somewhat similar apparatus also devised by Mr. Acres - at the rate of about 40 a second, although he could if necessary take as many as a hundred in a second, but the effect of motion was satisfactorily reproduced by projecting them on the screen at the rate of about fifteen per second. The subjects shown included men boxing, a review of the German Emperor, Epsom Downs, and the Derby race, serpentine dancing, and the sea breaking against an embankment".                            - The Photographic Journal, page 123, 31st January 1896  
       
  In 1896 Acres establishes The Northern Photographic Works company, which will propel him into the 20th century as one of the foremost producers of film stock in England.  
       
       
 

 
     
 
Alice Guy Blache

1896
ALICE GUY BLACHE (1873 - 1968)

Blache, a French woman, was the first of her gender to begin experimenting with filmmaking. She worked as the secretary for Leon Gaumont, a French camera maker. She is credited with having been involved with the production of at least 700 films in France and the US.

She later moved to America and started her own studio, Solax, which was the largest studio in the US for a short period. Blache began many innovative techniques never before tried: the use of close ups, reaction shots and double exposures. She set cars on fire, detonated explosives, trained rats to attack the lead actors, ran film backwards, inside out, used animals and made the moon smile.

She later returned to France and died in obscurity, unremembered.

 
Alice Guy Blache

 
       
       
 

 
       
 

1896
ROBERT WILLIAM PAUL (1869 - 1943)

Paul showcases his Theatrograph to an audience at Finsbury Technical College, London. Paul made many short films as well as newsreel footage of the Royal Family, sporting and political events. For a short time, Paul‚€™s Theatrograph was the most popular projecting machine in Europe.

In 1896 Paul will meet Ernest Moy and Percy Bastie and started making supplies for the film industry. In 1897 and 1898 Moy applied for and was granted patents for motion picture equipment. They made their first camera in 1900.

Robert William Paul
 
Robert Paul                  
 
       
 

 
       
 
BIRTH OF THE MOTION PICTURE THEATRE
Within about an eight-month window during the year 1895, anyone and everyone who had tinkered in the business of producing motion pictures, was now showing them. Even before the Lumiere's, Edison and Acres, Muybridge had presented his movement of the human form and animal. Where to show these news pictures of real life? The only buildings large enough and capable of holding the numbers of people wanting to see them were the stage and opera houses, music halls and vaudeville theatres.
     
The Earliest Movie Cinemas Were Converted Vaudeville And Burlesque Houses

Typical of what this new form of entertainment looked like (left ) is this depiction of a converted Vaudeville theatre. People flocked to the new 'cinema' in droves, wanting to see just about anything available. Patrons were not fussy in these days.

Whether a train robber aiming his gun at the audience and pulling the trigger with a blast, or a train coming right for the theatre as if to come through the wall of the building, it did not matter.

An etching of a ca.1895 vaudeville house converted into a makeshift "movie" theatre.    
     
     

The world was just now beginning to experience what would soon become one of the most exciting and lucrative new industries known of. As the motion picture projectors were surpassing the nickelodeons and peepshow machines, group screenings became the norm with audiences watching 'movies' in town halls, smaller vaudeville houses, arcades, county fairs, amusement parks, churches, circuses, schools and in playhouses.

A study of the earliest films shows us that the scenario, or storytelling had not truly arrived by 1896. The earliest audiences saw presentations billed by the name of the projector, not the main actor or title of the story. Billings such as 'Vitascope Show', 'Evening Biograph Program', 'Panoramic Exhibition', or 'Edison Moving Picture Show' were typical.

The popularity of this new form of entertainment became lucrative enough for owners of any sized indoor establishment to convert a building or room into makeshift movie theatres. Renovations of these new movie houses were a simple enough task. A sheet for the screen, some rows of chairs or benches and some kind of curtain to keep light out from the front door, and an operator was in business.

The term "box -office" came from the use of a box that was used for collecting admission. These simple changes to existing halls and arcades allowed for an easy take-down should this new entertainment turn out to be a fad, and not a long-term business venture.

Early Motion Picture Poster ca. 1896
   

An Early Movie Poster ca. 1896

     
 
       
 

 
     
 
1896
AMERICAN MUTOSCOPE & BIOGRAPH COMPANY

Founded by men like Casler and Dickson, among others, the AMBC (originally founded as American Mutoscope Company - 'Biograph' being added in 1899) introduces their American Biograph. This projection apparatus used non-perforated film of a much larger frame area than was customary at the time, resulting in a much sharper image. It required very careful handling by the projectionist. Biograph's first projectionist was cameraman, Billy Bitzer. The American Biograph's premiere was at New York's Olympia Music Hall on October 12, 1896. The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company was the spawning ground of directors D. W. Griffith and Mack Sennett and such stars as Mabel Normand, Mary Pickford, the Gish sisters, and Florence Lawrence who went on to become "The Biograph Girl." The AMBC was dissolved in 1917, but not until joining with Thomas Edison to form the Motion Picture Patents Company. The AMBC remains the oldest film company in the US and still in business as a movie production company. For more on Hermann Casler SEE CASLER 1890.
Possibly The First Movie Shot By Edison In 1893
What could be the first "working" experimental movie [left] made by Edison, the film seen here is of Hannibal Hause (left) and William Dickson (right) of the Edison Labs, prior to the formation of AMBC in 1893. Image Source: Thomas R. Bond II, President, AMBC
 
       
       
 

 
       
       
 

1896
HERMANN CASLER (1867 - 1939)

Designed and built by Casler for the newly founded American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, the Biograph was unveiled this year in New York. The projector (right) was formatted for up to 70mm film and was powered by electricity.

Although deeply involved in the design of the Biograph, Dickson, while employed by Edison, took no credit when it came time to patent this projector. Only Casler's name appeared in the papers filed.

The Biograph used friction rollers which provided continuous movement. No sprockets where used. The Biograph was in direction competition with Edison's Kinetoscope and was of superior quality, a name for which AMBC became synonymous right up until Casler's death in 1939.

Biograph Of Hermann Casler 1896
Image Source: Smithsonian Institute & Hendricks

Hermann Casler's Biograph of 1896 made for the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company

 
       
       
 

 
       
  1896
ROBERT WILLIAM PAUL (1869 - 1943)

Paul sets up four years worth of screenings at the Alhambra Theatre, Leicester Square this year. It has taken over eight years for the public to embrace the commercial aspect of movie going. This now allows producers such as Paul to secure long runs at these newly renovated 'halls'. Many of Paul's scenarios are filmed on the roof of this very theatre.
 
       
       
       
  1896
RENE BUNZLI ( - ) AND PIERRE-VICTOR CONTINSOUZA (b. 1872 - )
 
  Taking one step backward and two forward, Bunzli and Continsouza suggested the use of a glass-disk-only device they had patented in France, to replace Celluloid. Believing that Celluloid was too dangerous for home use, their machine utilized a glass disk similar to that of previous inventors. It‚€™s circular shape held photographs taken on it‚€™s surface and placed in a spiral fashion on the disk. A four-sided Maltese Cross moved the disk. Their thought of crafting a safe and effective home-based entertainment system however, was certainly a little ahead of it‚€™s time.  
       
       
 

 
       
 
Rendering From The New York Evening Journal,  November 1896

1896 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
'HEARST'S MONSTER BULLETIN BOARD'

During the Presidential elections this year, growing newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst employs Stereopticon and Kinetoscope technology in his attempt to bring the electoral results to New Yorkers. He drapes the side of his New York Evening Journal building, (and other locations in the city with erected wooden towers) with large canvas sheets to act as picture-show screens.

The screen at the Journal's building showed a map of the United States at the top with various other projections of text headlines, images, photographs, panoramas and "movies" reported in the paper as the stereopticon-kinetoscope "threw on cartoons and pictures more or less moving" as well as "panoramascope pictures".

This was all of course designed to draw crowds but also to keep the impatient entertained until the election results could be projected on the canvas.

One of the erected screens was located at Hammerstein's Olympia Theatre in Manhattan. The headline read: "the cinegraphoscope, that new extraordinary combination of electricity and photography, seemed to make the canvas alive with moving firgures".

 
  From The New York Evening Journal (above), November 1896    
       
  When the time came, these magic lantern stereopticon projections proclaimed "McKinley is elected". Electronic headlines and projected images on the walls of buildings, on giant erected screens and large television monitors are commonplace today. Times Square in New York is a perfect example of this technology in the modern age.  
       
 

 
       
       
 

1896
LUMIERE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCREENINGS

The Lumière's continue their private screenings of their Cinematographe throughout 1896; the Empire Theatre, Lyons, France (private); at the Empire Theatre of Varieties in Leicester Square, London (private); at the Marlborough Hall of the Regent Street Polytechnic, London (press only); at the Regent Street Polytechnic, London (to the paying public).

Continued showings are made to paying audiences in many European countries by Lumière affiliates. Regular screenings (including Matinees) begin at various British Halls; at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly; at the Empire Theatre of Varieties in Leicester Square; at the Olympia; at the Pandora Galley, King's Road, Brighton; at the Alhambra Theatre and many more.

 
       
       
       
       
 

1897
AMERICAN VITAGRAPH

American Vitagraph had it's beginnings as 'The International Novelty Company' in London England as Ronald A. Reader, Stuart Blackton and Albert Edward Smith (1875-1958) called themselves while conjuring magic tricks, cartooning, giving magic lantern shows and entertaining with vaudeville acts. The men bought and included into their act, an Edison projector to show films, calling themselves Edison Vitagraph, deliberately tempting Edison to sue, which he did. Smith then tore the projector apart re-designing it into the Vitagraph camera and American Vitagraph was born. In 1905 the company was incorporated as Vitagraph Company of America and opened a studio in California. The company was bought by Warner Brothers Pictures in 1925.

Albert Edward Smith
 
Albert E. Smith
 
       
 
The Smokestack Identifying the Vitagraph Studios Still Stands

The New York Vitagraph studios were situated in Midwood Brooklyn on East 15th Street. At the turn of the century it was known as South Greenfield. Today a smokestack (left) marking the still-standing location can be seen from Locust Avenue.

Interior of the Vitagraph studios (right) showing a dressed set (l), camera on tripod (r), cameraman (r), several hanging arc lamps, and a glass roof for daytime shooting.

Interior Of The Vitagraph Studios (ca. 1899) Showing  Set, Camera, Cameramen, Hanging Arc Lamps And Glass Roof
Vitagraph's Midwood Stack  

American Vitagraph was later changed to Vitagraph Company of America

     
     
Drawing By Stuart Blackton Of Vitagraph's Roof Top Open Air Studio

Drawing (left) by Blackton, from Smith's autobiography 'Two Reels and a Crank' published in 1952.

Blackton's pen gives us a clear idea of what an open-air studio in the very early days of cinematography, aligned with ingenuity (using daylight) and a movie company's budget were all about.

The Vitagraph location at 140 Nassau Street in the Morse Building was one of many 'open-air studios' in existence but one of few rooftop studios.

Smith's Book 'Two Reels and a Crank' included this drawing by partner Stuart Blackton of the Vitagraph's Roof Top Studio (above)

 
       
 

 
       
       
  INTERNATIONAL FILM
A variety of public commercial and non-commercial screenings using a variety of projectors by a variety of presenter/producers are shown across the world; Birt Acres at Cardiff Town Hall, Wales; Robert Paul at the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Johannesburg; at West End Park, Ottawa Canada using an Edison Vitascope projector; Lubin’s Vitascope, Edison’s Kinetoscope and Vitascope and Lumière Cinématographe are used in presentations seen in Japan; at the Zavani Café in Alexandria, Egypt and other halls and theatres all over the globe.
 
       
     
  1897
THOMAS ARMAT (1866 - 1948)
   
  Armat patents his 'Maltese Cross' action in the projector which now provides a smooth intermittent movement between frames.  
       
       
 

 
     
 

1897
SIEGMUND ( LUBSZYNSKI) LUBIN (1851 - 1923)

Lubin was a German optician who moved to Philadelphia. He envisioned a great future for the fledgling movie industry. He is said to be the first to attempt the mass marketing of the movies. Betwen 1893 and 1895 he had seen Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope and Jenkin's Phantoscope, and began to construct (along with the help of C.F. Jenkins) his projector known as the Cineograph.

Having been sued by Edison on multiple occasions and the United States government, he was the first to build a chain of movie theatres and studios.

Lubin later became good friends with Edison.

Siegmund Lubin
 
Siegmund Lubin
   
A photograph from 1899 (below) of a dressed, open-air set on the roof of the Lubin Studio located at 912 Arch Street in Philadelphia. The camera is seen in the foreground.
 
Lubin's 'Roof' Open-Air Studio 1899

Siegmund Lubin manufactured a Cineograph projector he called a "Marvel".

They were available from 1897 to 1910.

Lubin's Cinegraph camera had been based on the Charles Pathé studio camera, except Lubin designed his with a tachometer.

The cameraman could now know the speed at which to crank.

Lubin's first films were made in his backyard - of boxing matches.

See This Large Format Photograph (1488 x 1174 px) Here  

The Lubin Manufacturing Company saw the potential and exploitation of this new art of motion pictures and the energy towards it by people like Thomas Edison. After creating the Cineograph camera/projector, Lubin wanted to focus on the production of what was soon becoming known as full-length feature films.

He opened up his studio in Philadelphia and began producing commercial films. As the years went by, Lubin would build and operate one of the largest working movie studios in downtown Philadelphia, Florida and California.

Lubin may have been the first to 're-make' films that had become popular. Besides re-makng famous boxing and prizefights, Lubin also remade such movies as 'The Great Train Robery' and 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. He also re-made some of the films of Pathé, Edison and Georges Méliès.

The Cineograph Projector sold for $150.

Cameraman Operating A Lubin Camera

All Images Courtesy Joseph Eckhardt

The Cineograph In Operation

   
 
   

 

 
 

 
       
 
Cinematograph By Cecil Wray And Cecil Baxter From 1897

1897
CECIL WRAY (1866 - 1944) and CECIL W. BAXTER ( - )

Wray combined forces with one Cecil William Baxter the year before and went to work designing and manufacturing a combination camera and projector with him.

They called it the 'B & W' Cinematograph. They 'perfected' the machine in 1897, calling it just that, the Perfection Cinematograph.

The Perfection Cinematograph filmed and projected in 35 mm using a claw movement to advance the film. Wray and Baxter brought in Joseph Oulton, a clockmaker, to assist in the precision works. This machine was vastly different than it's prototype - advertised as "... will take films of any length, from 50 feet to 1/2 a mile...". No wonder. The Perfection Cinematograph (left) shows no take-up reel!

Besides diving into the technical side of this new art form, Wray also lectured on a variety of telecommunications devices including the Kinetograph, Phonograph and Kinetoscope.

One such lecture demonstrated the Edison-Bell Phonograph as a replacement for secretaries and their ability to take shorthand, possibly putting many out of work!

Baxter and Wray not only sold their Cinematographs but also sold films to go with them. How does this remind us of large retailers today who not only sell DVD and Blu-ray players but also the DVD's?

The Cecil Wray - Cecil Baxter Cinematograph of 1897  
 
       
 

 
       
       
  1897
MAXIMILLIAN SKLADANOWSKY (1863 - 1939)
   
  The last use of his Bioscop projector happens this year. Skladanowsky's second generation Bioscop contained a single band of film.  
       
       
  1897
ROBERT BEARD (1856 - 1932)
   
  Beard had stayed with the times and began taking a serious interest in the new business of cinematography. This resulted in the Beard Cinematograph. Beard had seen the Lumière Cinématographe in action the year before. The Beard Cinematograph had a Maltese cross intermittent action to move the film forward.  
       
 

 
       
 

1897
FILMING OF QUEEN VICTORIA'S DIAMOND JUBILEE

Before newsreels developed out of story telling cinematography, enthusiasts of this new art form took it upon themselves to film great events of the age.

Instead of shooting people crossing a bridge, dancing in a yard or trains arriving, we begin to see actual news-worthy events being filmed and shown the next day, or sometimes within hours.

This footage (right) is of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession, which took place on Pall Mall, Westminster, London on June 22, 1897.

The Queen had actually surpassed all reigning English and Scottish monarchs on 25 September 1896 but waited until the summer of 1897 for the celebration to align with her Diamond Jubillee.

Several Seconds of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Procession From 1897

Several Seconds of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Procession (above right) From 1897. It cannot be proven emphatically from whose's camera this film originated from.

   
Many if not all British cinematographers were present along the procession including Robert Paul, Alfred Wrench, Birt Acres, John A. Prestwich and R.J. Appleton. A respectable amount of film from this event survives from these pioneers.
 
       
 

 
       
  1897
INSTANT REPLAY

When French President Félix Faure is accused of not raising his hat to the Russian flag on an official state visit to St Petersburg, a film taken by the court photographer is viewed. It shows clearly that the President did in fact raise his hat in respect of Tsar Nicolas II.
 
       
       
       
  1897
CHARLES PATHE (1863 - 1957)
   
  Pathé instituted the Pathé Journal, his trademark newsreel series and later, Pathé News. He went on to film un-staged scenes and events and produced a hand-coloured stencil application, Pathé Color. The company was purchased in 1956 by Jack Warner.  
       
       
 

 
       
 
The Kinora Was An Animated Peepshow 1897
AUGUSTE (1862 - 1954) LOUIS (1864 - 1948) LUMIERE

The Kinora was an animated peepshow device appearing this year. The device contained three lenses so that three could view at a time. It operated through a clockwork motor wound to it‚€™s fullest prior to viewing. A mirror at the top of the Kinora allowed ample light for viewing. Primarily made of wood, the machine is heavily weighted to avoid tipping. The Kinora shown here (left) is circa 1910 and is also known as a Flicker Reel Picture Viewer. The name came from the fact that film negatives from early films were used to produce the images. Others also made the Kinora, namely, Kinora Ltd., of England. This model (left) contains a single lens. (Image Source: Lionel Hughes Photographica)
 
       
 

 
       
  1897
AMERICAN MUTOSCOPE & BIOGRAPH COMPANY
AMBC builds a film studio with removable glass walls. It can be slanted towards the sun for maximum light and has the capability of a rocking motion for special effects. The studio is built in London.
 
       
 

 
       
  1898
ALFRED WRENCH ( - )
   
 

By this year Wrench had patented what he called his Cinematograph which was a projector as well as a camera. He filmed Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession the year before, using this camera.

It mimicked the Cinématographe in construction and was based on a rachet and pawl mechanism. The film shot was over 800 feet contained on 7 reels.

A later version of this camera had a movement with two triple-pin pulldown arms.

The Wrench Cinematograph projector shown here (right) from 1898 also showed lantern slides. It became the projector of the Empire Theatre at Leicester Square in 1897 replacing the Lumière device of the same name.

Alfred Wrench's Cinematographe Of 1898
 
Alfred Wrench's Cinematographe of 1898 (above)
 
       
 

 
       
  1898
OSKAR MESSTER (1866 - 1943)

Oskar Messter films what could be the first medical operation for use in teaching. The film is shot at the Surgical Centre at the University of Berlin for use at Kiel University.
 
       
       
  1898
HANNIBAL GOODWIN (1822 - 1900)
   
  Goodwin finally is granted a patent for his Cellulose roll film, eleven years after application. Eastman had already started manufacturing a roll film in 1889. The resultant patent infringement suit resulted with a judgment against George Eastman, and a $5 Million award to Goodwin in 1914.  
       
     
 

 
       
 
Birt Acres 1898 'Birtac' Projector - For Home Use

1898
BIRT ACRES (1854 - 1918)

Hoping to coin the phrase 'home movies' Acres begins production of his Birtac amateur cine camera/projector. He markets it in England as a competitor to the now established Kodak products. The Birtac did not fair well however, with less-expensive quality products. This machine ran 17.5mm film and was known as the Birtac Home Cinema. The manual and packagng boldly stated it was . . . "to place animated photography within the reach of everyone".

Birt Acres 1898 'Birtac' Camera - For Home Use
The Birtac Projector
 
The Birtac Camera
 
 
 

 
       
     
 

1898
LEONARD ULRICH KAMM (1861 -?)

Kamm designed and built the Kammatograph (right) which was capable of holding in excess of 500 minuscule photos all around the edge of a 12 inch diameter disk.

The exposures were placed in a spiral fashion around the disk. The Kammatograph was a combination camera and projector.

Even this was nothing compared to what Celluloid was now doing to the art of cinematography.

Leo Kamm's Kammatograph Of 1898
 
Leonard Kamm's Kammatograph (above) 1898
 
       
 

 
 
 
       
 
American Entertainment Company Poster MOVING PICTURE POPULARITY
This lithograph by the Donaldson Lithographic Company of Cincinnati c.1898, is typical of how early films were portrayed at least from an advertising perspective. It was not uncommon for the filmmakers to allow a space at the top of the posters for the film exhibitor to advertise their name, in this case, the American Entertainment Company.

This particular poster depicts a film scene of troops in formation. Not something we would pay to see today but something early patrons lined up for. It was the draw of the technology, not the subject matter that first shook the world.
(Image Source: Library of Congress)
 
Notice the projectionist is centered within the audience and on the first balcony. Although this may be the artist's attempt to ensure the technology is showcased, makeshift theatres in the early days of movies did not have a natural place to put the projector and it's operator. Many halls and Vaudeville venues had to 'compromise'.
 
 

 
       
       
 
1898
HENRY WILLIAM SHORT ( - )

The Filoscope was patented by Short which resembled and mimicked the Mutoscope of Casler. Photographs depicting successive motion were loaded one after the other in a holder which was inserted in the device. A slide lever when turned flipped the photos imitating motion. The Filoscope actually contained little books where cinematic prints from photographs were bound one on top of the other. Once inserted in the Filoscope, and turned by hand, a series of motion pictures appeared to the viewer. Short was a camerman for Robert W. Paul.
Short's Filoscope Flip Book 1898
Image Source: FlipBook.info
The Filoscope By Henry Short   
 
       
 

 
       
 
1898
JOHN ALFRED PRESTWICH (1874 - 1952)

Manufactured by the Prestwich Manufacturing Company in London, England, in 1898 and designed by Prestwich himself, this camera known as the Model "4" originally had external magazines with 400 foot capabilities.

In his improved model Prestwich placed all spools inside for good reason. Light entering could not be allowed, especially when the first take was crucial. Pathé at the time still manufactured cameras with external magazines.

The Australian cinematographer Frank Hurley when he went on the Shackleton Antarctic Expedition used a Prestwich as his camera.

John Prestwich's Model 4 Camera From 1898
 
 
The Model "4" camera of Prestwich (above right). Image Source: The Internet Encyclopedia Of Cinematographers.
 
 

 
       
  1898
CARL ZEISS (1816 - 1888)

Zeiss works on an anamorphic lens to be used in motion picture cameras. An anamorphic lens is used on a camera to distort the image being filmed by optically compressing the image so that it will fit into a 35mm film frame. During projection the projector is then fitted with another anamorphic lens which then reverses the distortion. The 35mm film is projected the way it was filmed, in its widescreen format.
 
       
       
  1899
WILLIAM EDWARD FRIESE-GREENE (1855 - 1921)
   
  Friese-Greene develops a camera/projector utilizing a Celluloid band with a perforated strip along the edge. In 1888 Friese-Greene used a cinematographic camera to film a short piece at 5 frames per second but without a perforated edge. Over a thirty-two year period, Friese-Greene took out seventy-eight patents, none of which applied to any outstanding invention.  
       
       
 

 
       
 
FRENCH LANTERN POSTCARD
A French Lantern Postcard of the late 19th century (below). This working mechanical Chromatrope had a revolving disc which could be turned by the receiver using their fingers. The upper and lower sections of the card reveal the inserted wheel, held by a centre-piece between the front (below-left) and back (below-right). Commercially produced using cardboard, this postcard was made by a firm manufacturing margarine. (Courtesy the Thomas Weynants Collection). To learn more of virtual reality techniques during the French Revolution and the early 19th century by Thomas, and his discovery of a Fantascope lantern in the French castle Ch√Ęteau de Moisse, SEE MOISSE or visit the Dead Media website.
   
French Chromatrope-Working Lantern Postcard (Front)
French Chromatrope-Working Lantern Postcard (Back)
Revolving the exposed disk with the finger tip would animate the
"projected image" from the lantern on the table.
The popular culture had embraced the lantern and all things optical.
This Chromatrope postcard is one example of it's popularity.
 
       
 

 
       
       
  1899
GEORGE EASTMAN (1854 - 1932)
   
  Eastman introduces the first Panoramic Camera. The camera takes pictures 3.5 by 12 inches, on Eastman‚€™s roll film. Eastman also incorporates the Kodak camera name, into the company name (Eastman Kodak). Regarding his early cameras and pre-loaded film, Eastman was known for saying . . . "You push the button, we do the rest". One of the catchiest marketing lines of all time. Eastman took his own life as a result of a progressive nervous disorder he had which haunted him his whole life.  
       
       
  1899
EDWARD RAYMOND TURNER ( - 1903)

Turner produces a protoytype motion picture tri-colour system capable of producing blue, red and green colour photographs. The system required 48 fps and resulted in being the first system to attempt motion photography in natural colours. Although primitive, the 'additive principle' used a rotating wheel with red, blue and green sections positioned on the camera and a rotating filter wheel as well, on a three-lens projector. This system and concept passed through different hands over the years such as Charles Urban and Alfred Darling and was somewhat indirectly responsible for a system known as Kinemacolor which surfaced in 1906 as the first 'successful' motion picture system producing natural colours.
 
       
       
 

 
       
 
1899
AMERICAN MUTOSCOPE & BIOGRAPH COMPANY - THE JEFFRIES/SHARKEY FIGHT
No better example of the popularity of cinema in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a tool to promote and sell, is the heavyweight title prizefight between Jim Jeffries and Tom Sharkey. Boxing matches had long been filmed by now, but nothing on this scale had been seen by the live eye, let alone on the screen. The fight took place on the evening of November 3rd, and The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company had been chosen by promoter William Brady to film the event for the world. Long gone were the days of watching people leaving work. Cinematography and sports would never be the same again.
     
Photograph Of The Jim Jeffries - Tom Sharkey Heavyweight Title Fight, November 3rd, 1899

This picture(left) of the Sharkey-Jeffries fight was taken on the evening of November 3, 1899 at Coney Island, New York. The fight went twenty-five rounds, and required 500 arc lamps to light the event for filming.

The Biograph film used was 2.75 inches wide with the frames 2.25 inches high. Each minute required 320 feet of film at the rate of 30 frames per second. In comparison, the animation below is 3.75 inches high by 2.75 inches wide.

Both fighters complained the arc lamps made it too hot. They vowed never to fight under these terms again. Within a week, the fighters had agreed to, and filmed the final round for the cameras due to the fact Biograph had run out of film.

This still photograph (above) is of the Jeffries-Sharkey title fight of 1899.

 

     

NOVEMBER 3, 1899
Biograph operated four cameramen to film the event. One camera was designated to shoot the action, one remained loaded and ready for when camera one signalled he had run out of film. A third camera in the rotation was reloading while a forth was for backup in case one of the three failed.

Two hundred thousand frames were photographed that night, none of which is believed to exist. Perforations along the film were made within the Biograph camera, and buckling of the film happened throughout the fight. Cameramen were able to monitor this technicality by watching the film via a red-glass peephole on the side of the camera wall. To further ensure no light destroyed the exposure, and that the cameraman could see the celluloid passing, a small red light bulb was inside the camera to provide some illumination.

Seven Seconds Of The Vitagraph Footage Of 1899
Seven seconds of footage (above) taken by the Vitagraph camera.
     

Even though no stock remains from the seven miles of film that was taken that night by AM&BC, there is approximately five minutes of known footage. The footage above-right is from what has been described as bootleg footage from that night, taken possibly by a fan with a hidden camera within the crowd. This however, is unlikely for a number of reasons, two of which are the high security of the event surrounding filming rights, and the fact that cameras in 1899 weren't exactly something a person could hide under a jacket or in a cigar box, let alone set up and operate amongst a crowd of fight fans.

If it can be said, in those days Biograph had the 'rights' to filming the fight. However in the early days of movies, there was ruthlessness in the business. Vitagraph had secretly stationed their camera further back, behind the Biograph employees and cameras. A second fight broke out, this one outside the ring, after Biograph had discovered the camera. Even though Vitagraph did manage to photograph the fight, Thomas Edison's long arm reached out and removed the film from the Vitagraph lab on the evening they had processed the film.

Jeffries won the contest, but both fighters agreed to re-film the final round due to the fact AM&BC ran out of film. In the years to follow, Jeffries toured the U.S. giving theatrical performances in a play called "The Man from the West." The Jeffries-Sharkey fight was the first ever filmed under artificial lighting.



 
 

 
       
       
  1999
CECIL M. HEPWORTH (1874-1953)

Hepworth builds a working film studio in the backyard of a house in Walton-on-Thames and names it Hepwix. Of all the pioneer filmakers if Britain, Hepworth lasted longer than any. His sense of story telling and taste for strange scenarios was an unusual mix of the Lumière's shoot-everyday-life thinking, and that of Edwin Porter's in-your-face style. Some of Hepworth's titles included 'Explosion Of A Motor Car' (1900), 'How It Feels To Be Run Over' (1900), and 'Baby's Toilet' (1905). He even filmed Carroll's 'Alice In Wonderland' (1903) for the first time. He was the son of lantern showman T.C. Hepworth.
 
       
       
  1900
CHARLES-EMILE REYNAUD (1844 - 1918)
   
  With the coming of pure cinematography and the fact he was penniless, Reynaud destroyed the only Praxinoscopes (3) he had and threw all except two of his films into the river Seine. He closed the Th√©√Ętre Optique and Reynaud's son Paul Reynaud salvaged 17 frames of one film which resides at the National Museum of Prague.  
       
       
 
 
       
 

1900
ERNEST FRANCIS MOY ( - ) and PERCY HENRY BASTIE ( - )

Moy and Bastie started a company in England in 1895 manufacturing circuit breakers. In 1896 they had met Robert Paul and were making items for the film industry. They made their first camera in 1900, with 400 foot external magazines, placed on the top of the camera (not shown).

 

 

The Moy and Bastie camera of 1900 (right). Image Source: the Internet Encyclopedia of Cinematographers.

The Moy And Bastie Camera Of 1900
 
       
 

 
       
 
 
 

1900
LUMIERE AND SONS /
THE PHOTORAMA
At the Paris International Exhibition of 1900, the Lumière's (Auguste and Louis) presented their Photorama Lumière, a 360 degree panoramic projector which used 70mm film and an analyphic stereoscopic motion picture system which was later introduced in 1935.

The Lumière Photorama was a process for wide screen static projection. The screen was between 20 and 21 metres in circumference and six metres high. The system used revolving lenses (image below) to project that of landscapes, riverscapes and cityscapes. Even though static, the Photorama depended upon persistence of vision as is the case with Cinematography.

Cross Section Showing the Photorama's Size and Operation
   

Cross Section Showing the Photorama's Size and Operation

   

Image Source: Institut Lumière Collection

     
The Photorama of the Lumière's, expanded on the Panorama of Barker, but by projection as opposed to paintings. The system consisted of 12 lenses fixed on a circular plate which turned in a graduated fashion, three times each second. These fixed lenses turning in unison allowed for the film-frames to also remain fixed. By allowing the lenses to sweep past the film in a circular motion, this allowed each frame to be seen in a separate but constant, state. The Photorama was a projection of photographs that encircled the audience.
     
The Lumière's Twelve Lens System of the Photorama

The patent for the Photorama was granted in 1902 for "a method for producing a static circular photograph". The patent for "a system of stereoscopic cinema" was granted on December 29, 1900. The Lumière's were also pioneers of colour photography. They invented the first commercially successful method of creating a colour photograph on a single plate. It was known as the Autochrome process and was patented in 1907.

By 1915 cinematography had spread like wildfire and had roots in all industrialized nations of the world. The Lumière's however were not a part of it. Except for their experimental films lasting upwards of a minute, the Lumière's were never a part of the boom which was already appearing, even in France. Almost as a self-fulfilling prophecy, Louis Lumière stated, "the cinema is an invention without a future."

The Lumière's Twelve Lens System of the Photorama The Institut Lumière houses over 1,500 Lumière films in it's archives.
Image Source: Institut Lumière Collection  
 
       
       
 

 
       
 
Eadweard Muybridge 1900
EADWEARD JAMES MUYBRIDGE (1830 - 1904)

Having returned to his native England, Muybridge bequeathed to the Kingston-on-Thames public library, his Zoopraxiscope, some lantern slides, some plates from his University of Pennsylvania days, and some cash.


E. J. Muybridge 1830-1904
 
       
 

 
       
       
 
Charlie Chaplin As His "The Little Tramp"
 
       
       
       
       
       
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