Film's history is littered with innovations that have altered the seventh art's production and reception. The industry has never ceased developing to make better pictures, from the initial Lumière brothers presentations to modern computer-generated graphic flicks. These are only a few of the technological advancements that have changed the course of cinema history.
1. Lumière Brothers
Without the Lumière brothers, the beginning of the seventh art would be impossible to comprehend. These pioneers, who invented the cinematograph, were the first to replicate the illusion of movement. Their sole purpose was to deceive our perceptions. According to writer Yolima Andrea Daz, the film and its technological advancements may be traced back to mid-sixteenth-century "camera obscura," seventeenth-century "magic lantern," and Étienne-Jules Marey's portable chronophotography. However, the industry progressed well beyond the fundamental techniques of projecting images in dark rooms, displaying motionless transparent pictures, and moving bands that displayed twelve images per second.
The Lumière brothers' cinematograph was first shown at a scientific meeting in March 1895, but it was not officially presented until December 28 of the same year at the Grand Café Boulevard des Capucines in Paris. They showed a film in this French corner, surprising the spectators. The seventh art was officially born when they projected the arrival of a train at the Ciotat station.
Conscious of the unique business opportunity that they had on their hands, the Lumiere brothers went on to develop 450 portable cinematographers.
2. Méliès' Moon
With the creation of the cinematograph, the Lumière brothers launched the film industry. However, another French director owes a lot to the illusion of movement, which is the centrepiece of the seventh art. Nothing will ever be the same again after Georges Méliès "crashed" a rocket on the Moon's surface in 1902.
Superimposition of images, fading, double exposures, and scale models was among the methods used by the French director. Despite the early twentieth century's technical precariousness, he managed to produce A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage Dans la Lune). Méliès was able to "portray" the landing of a ship in the Moon's eye, a renowned image that distinguishes the first major science fiction film, 67 years before the Apollo 11 mission places mankind on the surface of the moon for the first time.
Technicolor, which allowed filmmakers to record films in colour, was introduced in 1916, making it one of the most essential techniques of the seventh art. A watershed moment for the business, made possible by the invention of a photographic chemical method that allowed colour to be introduced into cinema frames.
The Technicolor Corporation was able to convert black-and-white films into colour thanks to Daniel Comstock and Burton Wescott's discoveries. The Kinemacolor technology was used to record images in two colours (red and teal) using only one lens in this discovery. What happened? A beam splitter with light and colour filters aided the process, but the projection in theatres proved tricky.
The arrival of the two following systems (referred to as Process 2 or "two strips" system and Process 3) will help to improve colour film manufacturing. However, it was the invention of the three–colour camera (Technicolor three-strip) that would completely transform the industry.
Between the twenties and the thirties, the cinema underwent several technological changes, including the inclusion of coloured frames. The Jazz Singer, a black-and-white film by Alan Crosland, premiered in 1927. A work that did not yet profit from the benefits of Technicolor, but which modified an important component for another of our senses. We went from a silent picture, as typified by Charles Chaplin, to one in which the projected images were accompanied by noises.
It was made feasible by the Vitaphone, a technological breakthrough.
This method, which was supported by Warner Bros. and First National Studios, allowed for the recording of soundtracks and spoken texts on disks, which were then played back at the same time as the movie.
Despite its vulnerability, this technology revolutionized the business, but it was quickly surpassed by the Movietone, which was designed by Lee de Forest and commercialized by Fox beginning with the creation of Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans in 1927. This second technique allowed for the direct recording of audio onto the film, which was a success until 1939, when another system developed by Edward C. Wente revolutionized the business once more.
Two decades after these technological breakthroughs, the film was pitted against what would become its most formidable foe until the emergence of the Internet: television. To combat its popularity, Fox created Cinemascope, a new image technique. This technique compresses a huge image into a typical 35 mm frame. Using special anamorphic lenses in the cameras and screening equipment, the goal is to achieve a ratio of 2.66 to 2.39 times wider than high. The Cinemascope also marked the start of a new age in the film, which was marked by the employment of panoramic formats such as VistaVision, Todd-AO, Panavision, SuperScope, and Technirama.
The works of animation have undoubtedly been recognized in current film innovation. And Disney has been a major contributor to these developments. Walt Disney inaugurated the golden age of animated films with the release of Steamboat Willie in 1927, with Mickey Mouse as the main character, who has remained the company's symbol to this day. The animation prodigy pioneered a technique that many other producers of his era would follow. The sound cartoon approach allowed for the synchronization of cartoons and noises, as evidenced by the sight of smoke billowing from a primitive Mickey Mouse's boat.
He was the first to recognize the possibilities of animation in the filmmaking industry, and he intended to push the boundaries of the techniques used. Ub Iwerks' multiplane camera, which was also adopted by Disney, allowed traditional animation to be combined with new three–dimensional effects, at least at the time. For the first time in history, this form of video camera allowed scenes to be more realistic by creating depth in animation in Snow White, the company's debut feature film.
7. The Pixar Era
However, it is the use of computer graphics that has distinguished Disney and later Pixar. The classic Beauty and the Beast was the first production in which the business used computing. The smoke effect, the restoration of hair and facial hair, and face geometry modelling are just a few instances of technical innovation that take place at Disney Research - the research centres in the United States and Switzerland.
With premieres like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Cars, Pixar has been a symbol of animated filmmaking from its inception. Its inventions and advancements were inspired by the technological breakthroughs made in Westworld, a science fiction film known for being the first to use computer-generated images. Steve Jobs (co-founder of the animation studio) provided the film industry such a boost that Disney eventually bought Pixar for $7.4 billion in 2006.
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