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Exploring The History Of Movies Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1492 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The history of the movie industry dates from the early 19th century. Motion pictures or what is commonly referred to as movies developed gradually from the carnival innovation to what has developed to be among the most noteworthy forms of communication and entertainment in the modern world (Parkison, 1995). The first machine for the production of movies was manufactured in the United States. The machine was referred to as “the wheel of life” or the “zoopraxiscope.” The machine was a production of William Lincoln and it entailed people watching photographs through an opening in the machine. However, this early innovativeness has been advanced over the years to the complicated movie machines of today. The modern day motion pictures can be traced to the discovery of the motion picture camera.

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Frenchman Louise Lumiere discovered the earliest motion pictures in 1895. This was a valuable discovery in the movie production industry. It entailed the discovery of a portable motion picture camera, a film-processing compartment, and a projector. The machine was referred to as the cinematograph and it performed three functions. The machine increased the popularity of the motion pictures; arguably, the innovation can be termed as the greatest innovation in the motion picture era. In 1895, Lumiere and his brother presented the first motion pictures to a paying audience.

The modern day motion pictures rather than the fooling animations could only be developed with the discovery of the transparent and flexible celluloid. This innovation facilitated the recording of pictures within spit second and thus enabled the capturing of motion (Dirks, 2010). Etienne-Jules Marey, a Persian philosopher, innovator, and psychologist was the first person to conduct experiments that recorded bodies in motion through photographic means. Marey claimed to be the inventor of the modern day cinema. In 1892, he constructed a camera that could capture at least 12 pictures within a second. The machine was referred to as the chronophotography (Dirks, 2010); it was the fastest machine for capturing motion pictures by then. The term shooting a movie was derived in this era. Marey and his fellow innovators in this era of motion pictures did a valuable work in laying the foundation for the development of motion picture cameras and projectors.

Charles Francis Jenkins was the initiator of commercialization of the film industry. He was the first person to develop the idea of showing movies to a group of persons rather than to an individual. He invented the earliest film projector that was referred to as the phonoscope. This marked the earliest documented projection that captured motion. However, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson was an engineer at Edison laboratories who was responsible for the development of the realistic form of the celluloid strip (Parkinson, 1995). The strip captured a series of images and formed the foundation of filming. The innovation entailed slicing of the celluloid blocks lightly and removing the marks with heated pressure plates. The celluloid was then enclosed with photosensitive gelatin emulsions. In 1893, Edison launched two significant innovations: the kinetograph, which is arguably the first moving picture camera, and the kinetoscope (Parkinson, 1995). The two innovations were based on the celluloid technology.

The kinetoscope was fast to spread to Europe. However, Edison did not undertake any efforts to copyright these innovations since they were overly reliant on preceding innovations that had originated in Europe and Britain. Thus, replicas of the camera were developed at an alarming rate. The replicas included such cameras as the camera that was developed by Robert William Paul and Birt Acres. Paul advanced the idea of commercialization of film; thus, he developed the film projector and offered the first public viewing in 1895. Concurrently, Auguste developed the cinematograph. The movies were often shown at temporary storefronts and traveling expositions. Movies ran for a single minute and often showed a single scene. The scenes entailed daily occurrences, public events, sporting actions, or humor. They possessed very little or no cinematic techniques such as editing. They lacked camera movements and inclinations and the stage of composition was just flat.

Producers and inventors had input numerous efforts in trying to combine motion and sound. However, success was not forthcoming until in the late 1920s. Thus, for a significant number of years since their innovation, motion pictures lacked sound effects. However, to compliment the pictures, live musicians, sound effects, and narrations that were presented as subtitles accompanied movies. George Melies a stage magician who had began shooting and showing films in 1896 was the first person to produce multi-scene narratives that showed for at least 15 minutes (Parkinson, 1995). Edwin S. Porter advanced the sophistication of film editing. He was responsible for editing films like the “American Firefighter” and the “First Movie Western.” The films were critical in establishing movie editing and increasing nickelodeons, which were the earliest permanent theatres. As 1908 ended, over 10,000 movies that had been produced in the United States (Geoffrey, 1999). Edison led to the establishment of the first movies patent company. The company achieved a monopoly in the market by employing such tactics as intimidation and antagonistic business tactics against the independent competitors.

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The film industry maintained its growth over the years. The initial movies ran for a maximum period of ten minutes; the duration was based on the producers’ assumptions on the audience who were mainly the working population. The Australian film “The Story of the Kelly Gang” is renowned as the world’s first feature length movie. The film ran for an entire 80 minutes. However, Europe was fast to create multiple-reel extravaganzas that were over 80 minutes long. Pioneering the trend of longer movies was D. W. Griffith with his chronological blockbuster the Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. The films were unmatched in scale and set the precedence in developing the codes of editing and visual story telling that have remained as the foundation of the mainstream drama to the modern day.

Conventionally movies from Italy and France have maintained their dominance in the movie industry. However, the United States industry was fast picking until the World War disrupted the progresses made in the industry. In 1920s, the United States attained what has come to be referred to as the greatest output of the filming industry to be recorded. In the period, the United States produced over 800 features films annually, the production was over 82% of the global movie production (Geoffrey, 1999). The early 1990s marked the growth of successful independent commercial cinemas in the United States. However, the films were highly subjugated by the films from well-established companies such as the Terminator 2; however, independent movies such as the “Lies” had a significant success, both in the cinemas and at home. Thus, major studios commenced the creation of independent production companies and financing of and production of non-commercial fares. The Miramax film was a successful example. The year 1994 marked the onset of online distribution for movies and films. The popularity of animated movies that were produced for the home audiences regained their popularity with the production of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” Additionally, the first feature length computer animated “Toy Story” was produced in1995. However, the most significant development to take place in the late 199s was the shift from the conventional physical film stock to the digital cinema technology. The DVDs became the standard products for the consumer and replaced the VHS tapes (FILMBUG, 2010).

Today, the documentary films have grown significantly commercial with the onset of such documentaries as “Michael Moore Bowling for Columbia.” The “Voices of Iraq” promoted the new genre with the promotion of reasonably priced DV cameras were sold throughout Iraq. The promotion transformed ordinary people into joint filmmakers. Home theatre movies are and are becoming increasingly stylish. The most significant development of the 21st century is the development of systems that have facilitated the writing, shooting, and distribution of personally produced movies without the need for complicated and expensive equipments. Thus, it can be concluded that the movie making has come a long way to what we have today. Presently, people are able to watch movies even at the comfort of their homes. Furthermore, developments in the movie industry are ongoing.


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