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Filmmaking 1 - Filmmaking 2

When one starts talking about filmmaking and all that goes into the production of a motion picture, it becomes easy to forget about just how far the art form has come since its early days. The history of filmmaking all begins with the ability to take a photograph, since without that ability, it would not be possible to combine images in succession that would provide the desired motion effect.

The first still photograph was taken in 1827, using a glass plate for exposure. By 1832, the Phenakistoscope had been created, which made it appear that photographs were in motion when pictures were spun inside of the disc. One of the biggest inventions that led to the creation of the modern motion picture was the use of intermittent mechanism, such as those used in a sewing machine. In 1888, Etienne Marey created a box camera that used intermittent mechanisms and strips of paper film. It was not until 1895 that one of the first film screenings in history took place in Paris, France. People paid one Franc to see a twenty-five minute program that included ten films.

By 1902, although crude by today's standards, innovative special effect techniques were used in filmmaking by hand painting and tinting the film. The first Western film to contain a story told in narrative form was The Great Train Robbery from 1903. This film helped to establish the idea that filmmaking could be a profitable commercial venture. It also was the first 'true' Western, as it contained the typical guns, shoot-outs, chases, and robberies that almost all Western movies have followed since.

From this point on, techniques for filmmaking and the technology used for it expanded quickly. A considerable amount of time (close to twenty years) would pass before "talkies" would appear, but the filmmaking business had already started to establish its place in the American culture. Now it is hard to imagine our lives without this form of entertainment. The next time you sit down to watch a movie, think about the earliest filmmakers and all that had to happen for you to see a modern film.

Cathryne L. Parish 2005

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