The Invention of Cinema (1895)

Officially born in 1895, Cinema is the product of many 19th century scientific endeavours. Cinematography is the illusion of movement given by the recording and displaying of a very fast sequence of many still pictures.

Contemporary filmmaking

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Who invented cinema?

There isn’t any knowledge about the person who invented cinema. However, in 1891 the Edison Company in the USA successfully demonstrated a prototype of the Kinetoscope, which enabled one person at a time to view moving pictures.

Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory

Solving the problems Edison encountered, the Lumiere brothers invented the cinématographe, a device combining the camera with a printer and projection as well as the function to produce intermittent movement in order to display motion pictures for an audience.

The device was lightweight, operated by a hand crank, and available for multiple viewers to watch at one time.

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Birth of Cinema

The cinématographe was patented in February of 1895 and a month later, they screened their first short film, which depicted workers leaving a factory and was considered the first motion picture.

At first, films were very short, sometimes only a few minutes or less. They were shown at fairgrounds and music halls or anywhere a screen could be set up and a room darkened. Subjects included local scenes and activities, views of foreign lands, short comedies and events considered newsworthy.

The films were accompanied by lecturers, music and a lot of audience participation—although they did not have synchronised dialogue, they were not ‘silent’ as they are sometimes described.

L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (1896)

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