with a Story
with a Story
In 1873 an English photographer named Eadweard Muybridge set up 24 cameras
in a long line along a race track near San Francisco. Attached to the
shutter of each camera was a string, and inside was a small glass plate
that was coated with light-sensitive chemicals. The string was then stretched
across the track. When everything was set up, Muybridge's assistant waited
atop a horse at the starting line. Muybridge instructed his assistant
to bring the horse to a steady gallop in front of the cameras near the
finish line. As the horse sped past Muybridge and the cameras, the strings
were broken. This tripped the shutters. A series of photos was taken in
a quick sequence. A slightly different image of the horse appeared on
each plate after it was developed.
The twenty four photos, when viewed as a set, gave Muybridge a clear image
of how the horse galloped along the track. These photos, now famous, are
considered the first moving picutre.
Although Muybridge's experiments never caught on with other photographers
or the public, they inspired other inventors to try their hand at "filmmaking".
Using Muybridge's process, a large glass plate was needed for each photograph.
It had to be replaced with another plate to make another photo. Of course,
only a single picture could be taken at a time. A series of cameras had
to be set up to take multiple photos of a subject.
Hannibal Goodwin realized that taking pictures on one photographic plate
at at ime wasn't fast enought to show real motion. He developed a clear
celluloid film base that would take the place of the clumsy glass plates.
Goodwing coated the plastic-like base with a light-sensitive coating,
or film. The celluloid film could be moved quickly through a camera. This
allowed a photographer to shoot a rapid series of pictures--or frames--with
just a single camera.
In 1888 Thomas Edison met Eadweard Muybridge. During their discussion,
Edison came up with ideas that really opened the door to filmmaking. He
contacted his assistant William Dickson, and they worked together on putting
Edison's ideas into practical form.
They produced two machines--one to photograph the subject, the other to
show the moving pictures.
The first device was called the Kinetograph. It could take up to 40 photographs
per second on celluloid film. It was kept in a special studio called the
"Black Maria", that Edison had built. Famous people such as
Buffalo Bill and Anni Oakley were invited to perform. After photographing
the performance, it was then projected inside a small cabinet called a
The Kinetoscope held about 50 feet of celluloid film. A glass peephole
and a crank allowed a person to see a moving picture.
Edison oepened a Kinetoscope parlor in New York, and for a few cents,
people could look into a peephole and see a movie that lasted for no more
than a minute. This was an instant success and kinetoscope parlors appeared
around the world.
Despite this popularity, Edison was convinced that moving pictures were
just a passing fad.
French brothers Louis and Auguste Lumiere tried to build a device that
would show motion pictures to more people. They came up with a camera
that would both photograph and project films, called a "Cinematographe".
On December 28, 1895, the brothers made history by projecting a real moving
picture on a screen for the first time. Although their films were simple
(a train arriving at a station), their fellow Frenchmen regarded them
takes new interest
After seeing the Lumiere's success, Edison's interest in pictures returned.
He wanted to beat the Lumieres to the American market with his own projection
system. He adapted an existing system--called the Phantascope-- to develop
a projector named the Edison Vitascope.
When this was introduced in New York City in 1896, the audience was pleased.