The origins of cinema
The invention of cinema is a result of various
ingenious invetions in numerous scientific fields. The ancient
aspiration of representing reality was met by photography in
1839. You can read more on the inventions and breakthroughs that
followed in the field of photography, in THE ORIGINS OF PHOTOGRAPHY.
The need for the representation and recording of movement as
well as that for the narration of mesmerising stories reached
their complete expression through photography. Plato’s “Cave”
(gr. “Spilia”) can be traced back to the roots of photography;
its magical walls host the most extraordinary sights. There,
we meet with the ancient greek writer Loukianos, who in one of
his fiction stories about a trip to the moon, refers to a mirror
placed at the opening of a well, within which one can see images
and hear talks from the life of humans on the planet Earth.
Ptolemeos is the one who first constructed a device of optical
tricks (Ptolemeo’s Disc) which was effectively based on the movement
of the disc, parts of which where painted with different colours.
Just a little bit earlier, Heron, the big inventor of ancient
times, devised a system with mirrors, which, when playing with
the elements of shadow and light resulted in leaving the viewers
absolutely dazzled. However, all of those activities came to
an end, due to their understanding as idolatrous and devil’s
workings by the Christians in the Middle Ages, which stopped
their further development.
We have optical experiments reappearing after the Rennaisance
period. The most important invention of that time was that of
the “Magical Light”. Its fathership is claimed by many; Christian
Huygens, Rasmussen Walgenstein, Reeves, Dechales. The first to
describe it is the hisouiths Athanasius Kircher in his work ‘Ars
Magna Lucis et Umbrae’ (‘The big Art of Light and Shadow’). The
‘Magical Light’ was the precedent of the transparency projectors
and with its many varieties and developments it was still used
and was quite popular until the 19th Century (lanterna magica).
In 1816, the later inventor of stereoscopical photography Sir
David Brewster constructed the first kaleidoscope. In the decade
of 1920-1930, the Belgian physician Joseph Antoine Ferdinand
Plateau constructed the Anorthoscope and soon after that the
Phenakistiscope, which was also known in the market as Phantasmascope
or Fantoscope. In 1825, Paris constructed the Thaumatrope, which,
was seemingly an idea of Sir John Herschel. In 1834, William
George Horner made a system which he called Daedalum and was
forgotten for over 30 years, until it came back by William F.
Lincoln and M. Bradley, with the name Zoetrope. With its quick
movement and drawn images, it resembled a cartoon.
The person who came close to the cinema like no one else, was
the French Emile Reynaud, in 1878. If, instead of his drawn
paper tapes he had thought of actually showing film with his
Praxinoscope, today we would have been refering to him as the
inventor of cinema. However, we can definitely consider him
to be the father of cartoons.
An argument on the galloping of horses and a bet of 25,000 dollars
of the governor of California was the reason for Muybridge to
be placed under the spotlight. Eadweard Muybridge was known for
his photographic studies of movement and governor Stadford asked
for his input in order to prove his beliefs. Muybridge constructed
a structure constisting of 30 cameras, whose shutter would open
up by a thread split by the horse as it passed right in front
of them. This series of photographs made Muybridge famous and
gave birth to the idea of cinematic cameras. Up until this point,
human knowledge had given everything it needed to. It was then
time for Thomas Edison and Louis and Auguste Lumières to invent
THE ORIGINS OF CINEMA