History of Movies and Filmmaking
earliest use of moving pictures was an outgrowth of simple optical
devices (such as magic lanterns) which display still images in a
rapid sequence. Such device include the projection zoetrope and the
projection praxinoscope. Such early motion projection devices were
demonstrated as early as the 1860's. Reel-based film projection was
not demonstrated until the late 1880's, with many advancements contributed
by Thomas Alva Edison. By the early 20th century, films such as The
Great Train Robbery innovated on the art of film-making.
By using pictures that were largely similar, but with slight differences,
the presenter could communicate the effect of motion to the viewer.
Naturally, the images used in these devices need to be carefully
designed to achieve the desired effect. The underlying principle
remains the basis for the cinematic genre known as animation.
Celluloid Film Changes Filmmaking
With the development of photography, and particularly of celluloid
film, it became possible to directly capture motion in the real
world. Previous techniques sometimes required individuals to
look into a special device to see the pictures, but translucent
film made it feasible to use a projection system to display images
for an entire audience. These "moving picture shows" came
to be known colloquially as movies.
Cinema: A Visual Art
The cinema was initially purely a visual art, and many silent
films were created. Presenters soon found it useful to provide
who could narrate the action and fill in dialogue between characters.
Within a few years, films began to include subtitles that could
display dialogue when the actors on screen "spoke." This
rendered the function of a commentator largely unnecessary.
Music and Sound In Movies
Rather than leave the audience in silence, theater owners often
replaced the commentator by hiring musicians to accompany the
presentation. The most common approach was to hire a pianist
or organist if the theater had an instrument available. The music
to be played was supposed to fit the mood of the film at any
given moment. Later technological improvements allowed filmmakers
to create soundtracks synchronized with the action on the screen.
Sound films were initially known as "talking pictures",
or talkies. From the beginning, however, they included music
as well as speech, and specialist composers of film scores soon
Movies in Color
The final major step in the development of cinema was the introduction
of color. While the addition of sound to film revolutionized
the medium, quickly driving out silent movies and theater musicians,
color was adopted more gradually. As color processes improved,
more and more movies were filmed in color, and today the use
of color is virtually universal. Unlike photography, where black-and-white
film is still preferred for some purposes, there is little reason
not to use color in movies. In the rare exceptions, such as the
Steven Spielberg movie Schindler's List, the choice usually has
to do with other artistic reasons.
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