The Impact of Film

Technology has evolved from the earliest days of film to the modern day, where anybody can utilize film production. Photo by Hayden Swanson

Technology has evolved from the earliest days of film to the modern day, where anybody can utilize film production. Photo by Hayden Swanson

The concept of a moving picture is not something often thought about today, but at the time it was introduced, it was a revolutionary concept.

The first instance of film dates back to the late 1650’s with the Magic Lantern. This was a device created by Christiaan Huygens. The machine used mechanical slides to portray a set of pictures (Note that the camera had not been invented at this time.) in a slide show-esque fashion. It was controlled by a lever-like mechanism.

Many other inventions sprouted up during the gap between the 1650’s and the next major invention: Celluloid Photographic Film. This camera took pictures at a quick speed. These images were then able to be viewed in another device known as a Kinetoscope. The Kinetoscope functioned like a telescope that, when looked into, would display the moving picture. The limiting factor with this device was that a moving picture could be viewed one at a time. One of the most iconic films from this time was Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, a short 16-frame moving picture from 1878.

On Oct. 4, 1902, the silent film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), starring/directed by Georges Méliès, premiered in France. It was a rather long film for the time that involved a team of scientists taking a voyage through space and then the moon. Due to its extreme success, A Trip to the Moon was pirated by other film companies, most notably in the United States. Since films were still primarily in grey scale at the time and no technology thus far had the power to film and present in color, scenes from A Trip to the Moon were actually colored by hand.

In 1928, Walt Disney revolutionized the film industry with his sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie, starring Mickey Mouse™, who would become one of the biggest commercial successes in the history of cartoons and film production.  The Disney Company is still a successful company to this day, and is one of the most famous companies in the world.

In 1923, sound was fully imported in films, and the technology used to create silent films was replaced with bigger, better machinery. Sound, once again, revolutionized the film industry, and, steadily, the popularity of films increased. Theaters were built where movies could be viewed by a larger audience, and in 1927, the first television was revealed to the public. 20 years later, the first full scale commercial television production was broadcasted.

Over the next few decades, even more revolutionary film based advancements occurred. Color television arrived in the 70’s, and famous directors, such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Clint Eastwood, and more made their debut with some of the most iconic films of all time. 3D films became a staple in theaters (The first 3D film, however, aired in 1922).

As technology advances at the rate that it is today, it’s interesting to take a look back and think about the advancements that came from the earliest film making to modern day movie production. Without film, who knows how different the world would be today?