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Have You Seen The Oldest Movie Ever Made?

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Published on Mar 24, 2011

See the first ever movie from 1888 and also the earliest YouTube video upload.

Whether they were conscious of it or not, the western world was caught up in a race to invent the first motion picture in the late 19th century. Winston Churchill once said that "History is written by the victors." Hollywood wouldn't just write history, it would broadcast it worldwide, dominating popular culture and politics for decades. A new global power would rise up from the ashes of the old British Empire. Instead of invading physical space it would take over the virtual worlds of our mind. Children in every nation would memorize songs by their favourite US pop singers and demand their own version of the consumerist, American dream.

Ogden's Guinea Gold , General Interest Thomas Edison (Cinema History)


Trying to untangle the complicated web of weird and wonderful inventions that helped contribute to modern cinema is mission impossible, but here goes:

With a name like magic lantern, it's no wonder 18th century magicians and charlatans were quick to use this early optical instrument of illusion. Their shows would have terrified and hoodwinked their superstitious audiences. The lanterns could project ghostly images of long lost relatives. Simple animation effects could be created, but they bear little resemblance to the CGI blockbuster movies of today.

Mechanisms that create the illusion of motion from a series of static pictures were first developed in the 1830s: the Stroboscope, invented by Simon von Stampfer in Austria; Phenakistoscope , by Joseph Plateau in Belgium and the modern zoetrope, developed by William Horner in Britain.

In 1877 Eadweard J. Muybridge adapted these early motion machines for use with photographic images. Muybridge traced the galloping movement of a horse using a series of 24 cameras triggered by trip wires. He then used his zoopraxiscope to view the horse in motion.

The earliest surviving motion picture was filmed by the Frenchman Louis Le Prince in 1888 at Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. He mysteriously vanished before he could demonstrate his latest invention in the USA in 1890. Due to the ruthless nature of patent disputes between Europe and the United States, many interesting conspiracy theories have arisen.

William Friese-Greene, a British inventor, developed the chronophotographic camera. It was apparently capable of taking up to ten photographs per second using perforated celluloid film. Friese-Greene gave a public demonstration in 1890. The low frame rate and unreliability failed to impress and Greene filed for bankruptcy soon after.

Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Laurie Dickson gave a public demonstration of their movie viewer, the Kinetoscope, in 1893. Its major draw-back was that the film could only be viewed by one person at a time, through a peep hole. This prompted the inventor Charles Francis Jenkins to develop the Phantascope movie projector , allowing whole groups to view moving pictures at once.

Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinematograph. It combined the camera, printer, and projector into one machine. The Lumière brothers held their first demonstration in front of a paying public audience in Paris, 1895.

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Royalty free music by Kevin Macleod.

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