Early Days of Film: Pt 2

The first practical and functioning projector was created by Charles Francis Jenkins. He called his projector the 'Phantoscope", and demonstrated it to an audience in 1894. A little over a year later, French brothers, Louis and Auguste Lumiere built a device that could take, print and project film. They called their device the 'Cinematographe'. They presented their invention to a live audience in Paris in December of 1895. Word of the success of the cinematographe spread quickly, and soon Thomas Edison, along with many other inventors began working on their own version of the projector. All the successful projectors were slightly different in one way or the other, usually the film width and frame speed varied. After a few years though, the 35mm film width Edison used and the 16 frames per second used by Lumiere's cinematographe became the standard. The public was becoming more and more aware of these masterful devices, but they were still extremely limited. Most of these machines and the films they showed were resigned to traveling carnivals and fairs or in front of department stores in large cities. The films they presented were a minute long at best, showing only short casual scenes of real life situations or public and sporting events. There was no camera movement and artistic cinematography. But the fact that moving pictures were possible and amazing to the people of the time, the public wanted more and the inventors wanted to see how far they could take it. Everybody was in.
By 1895, it had become clear that people were willing to pay money to see movies. And the inventors knew that this novelty could grow into a money making industry, as long as the technology grew along with the times and the audiences preferences. The Edison Company was at the forefront of this movement. Edison took Charles Jenkins' phantoscope and renamed it the 'vitascope'. Along with Edison there were many other projection companies. But the most successful film producer until 1900, was the 'American Motoscope' company. W.L.K. Dickson had left the Edison company in 1895 and joined America Motoscope. Building upon his early invention, the kinetoscope, Dickson created the 'Mutoscope'. A viewing device in which you would load the film into a powered drum and like a rolodex, would flip images over on one another to simulate the motion of the subjects. Along with the Mutoscope, American Motoscope also had a projection device called the Biograph. This machine could project a continuous image from negatives.
In 1902, Frenchman George Mell'es wrote, directed, produced, and starred in a 14 minute movie called, "A Trip to the Moon". Based on the novels "From the Earth to the Moon", by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells' "First Men on the Moon". Using just a handful of people to help with making and co-star in the movie, it is still a well known early peice of film-making. For the first time, films with a plot, multiple actors and scenes, and special effects were being made

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