Week 2 Lecture Film Beginnings / Language of Cinema
Early Film Experiments <ul><li>In 1878, Edward Muybridge set up 12 cameras alongside a race track.  The cameras were attac...
Early Film: The Kinetograph <ul><li>One of the earliest film inventions was made by Thomas Edison.  His large camera was c...
Early Film: Lumiere Brothers <ul><li>The other most influential early filmmakers come from France: The Lumiere Brothers. <...
Lumiere Brothers: Early works <ul><li>One of the Lumiere’s earliest and most popular films was  A Train Arriving at the St...
Early Films: “The Cinema of Attractions ” <ul><li>The earliest films are referred to as “the cinema of attractions”.  </li...
Melies: A Trip to the Moon <ul><li>A Trip to the Moon  (1902)   was one of the earliest narrative films. </li></ul><ul><li...
Developments in Film Language <ul><li>Audiences soon became bored with “the cinema of attractions” and filmmakers had to f...
DW Griffith <ul><li>One of the greats of early cinema was D.W. Griffith, an actor turned director who is probably best kno...
Developments in Film Language <ul><li>Films began experimenting with the sequence of shots, and certain experiments were c...
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Film Studies -- Week 2 -- Film History/Language of Cinema

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Film Studies -- Week 2 -- Film History/Language of Cinema

  1. 1. Week 2 Lecture Film Beginnings / Language of Cinema
  2. 2. Early Film Experiments <ul><li>In 1878, Edward Muybridge set up 12 cameras alongside a race track. The cameras were attached to trip wires so that when a horse ran by, it would take a picture. When put together, the series mimicked motion </li></ul><ul><li>The psychological phenomena which makes successive images appear like motion is known as “the persistence of vision” </li></ul>
  3. 3. Early Film: The Kinetograph <ul><li>One of the earliest film inventions was made by Thomas Edison. His large camera was called the Kinetograph. The camera itself was housed in a small room, which led it to be called the “Black Maria”. </li></ul><ul><li>Because the camera was not easily transportable, In order to capture images, performers had to come into the room – this led to most of his films being performance based and removed from reality </li></ul><ul><li>The viewing apparatus was called the Kinetoscope. It was a one-person viewing machine and could not be played before an audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Edison Films: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIkLok-BYIk </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Early Film: Lumiere Brothers <ul><li>The other most influential early filmmakers come from France: The Lumiere Brothers. </li></ul><ul><li>They first started projecting films in 1895. They used an apparatus called the cinematographe, which acted as a camera, film developer, and projector. The camera was handcranked, so it didn’t rely on external power. </li></ul><ul><li>The camera was much more portable than Edisions Kinetograph, so their early films have real world events as their subject. The films could also be projected before a larger audience than the Kinetoscope. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Lumiere Brothers: Early works <ul><li>One of the Lumiere’s earliest and most popular films was A Train Arriving at the Station (1895) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The film is one 50 second shot of a train arriving and the passengers coming off the train </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are some stories that audience members feared that the train was going to run into them when they were watching it on the screen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link to the film: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A Train Arriving at the Station </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lumiere Brothers ’ First Films </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do you think audiences would have enjoyed the films at the time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do you think audiences would think today? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Early Films: “The Cinema of Attractions ” <ul><li>The earliest films are referred to as “the cinema of attractions”. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is because film at the time was a novelty – filmmakers could place anything on the screen and audiences would be fascinated because of the medium itself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subjects of early films were pretty similar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vaudeville Acts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality Based </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why couldn’t more complex stories be told? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Melies: A Trip to the Moon <ul><li>A Trip to the Moon (1902) was one of the earliest narrative films. </li></ul><ul><li>The film shows a great deal of fantasy and development of costuming in film, and certain sequences show that a film language was starting to emerge. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>One sequence is the spaceship hitting the surface of the moon. It then cuts to a shot of the surface of the moon, where the spaceship lands again. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It is difficult to determine story because of the distance of the camera to the subject. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link to the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbGd_240ynk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The band the Smashing Pumpkins did a send up of the film for a music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_f7LF3IiKI </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Developments in Film Language <ul><li>Audiences soon became bored with “the cinema of attractions” and filmmakers had to find new ways to keep their audiences entertained </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Began to move towards narrative forms, however they found it difficult because of the lack of sound </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Began using intertitles to narrate films. At first these needed to be long to explain the story, but as film language developed these began to only be used for dialogue </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. DW Griffith <ul><li>One of the greats of early cinema was D.W. Griffith, an actor turned director who is probably best known for his work on The Birth of a Nation (1915) </li></ul><ul><li>Griffith was an innovator in using tighter shots of his actors. Using tighter shots allowed several things: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Audiences could read emotion of a story from the actors expressions, thus helping tell the story </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actors began using more realistic techniques, they no longer had to be melodramatic in their techniques. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Griffith was also an innovator in regards to editing. He began using cross-cutting, a technique where the director cuts between two scenes that are happening simultaneously. This heightens the suspense in the narrative. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Developments in Film Language <ul><li>Films began experimenting with the sequence of shots, and certain experiments were codified into film language: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Point of View shots: Back to Nature (1910) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reverse Angle: The Assassination of the Duc de Guise (1908), The Loafer (1911) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flashbacks: Napoleon – Man of Destiny (1909) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Can you think of things that are tried in recent movies that have become parts of the film language? </li></ul>

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