Monday, December 28, 2020

Birth of Commercial Cinema, 125 -- December 28, 2020

Brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière grew up in Lyon.  Their father operated a small factory which made photographic plates and generated losses.  Both brothers went to technical school.  After they graduated, they ran the factory.  They automated the process of making plates and money.  Both brothers were inventors who made many improvements to the dry plate process and later developed the first commercial color photography process.

Their father retired in 1892 and they began to work on making moving pictures.  By 1895, they had created the Cinematographe, a device which could shoot movies, make prints and project them.  

On 22-March-1895 they had a private screening at the Society for the Development of the National Industry in Paris. 

125 years ago today, on 28-December-1895, they showed their films to a paying audience in Paris.  This is generally considered to be the beginning of commercial cinema.

"The Lumière Cinematograph," Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers, December, 1936

The brothers sent cameramen around the world to film many famous places and people.  They soon lost interest in movies and concentrated on color photography.  When  magician Georges Méliès, who was to become a pioneering filmmaker, wanted to buy a camera, they told him that film was just a novelty.  They would not sell him a camera.  

Among the subjects on the original program were these (some of these may be remakes, made when the negatives wore out): 

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