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Motion Pictures between Old Time and Modern Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 18th, 2021


Ever since the invention of motion pictures, the movie industry has been organized as a business. As such, the history of motion pictures represents an economic institution structured to maximize profits (Austin 3). Notably, the impression created by viewers when watching motion pictures is such that movies are acted in a single day or several days. In reality, the shooting of movies can take up to one year or more. The movie industry has come a long way.

Before it was possible to let pictures move, people had been trying to come up with movement illusions. This was possible with the use of slide shows, which were made up of lanterns. These lanterns used to function as early slide projectors. In the 19th century, the magic lantern showed entertained huge gatherings that comprised of the elites, business individuals, and entrepreneurs. During this time, the shows were considered marvels.

It should be noted that the first-ever cinema in the USA was in 1905. This cinema had a seating capacity of 96 people. Since then, the movie industry has evolved and improved with the invention of new technologies. Ever since their inventions, movies have always been used for educational, learning, and political purposes. This paper seeks to trace the inception of movies and highlight its development in history.

History of Motion Pictures

As earlier stated, modern technologies in the movie industry are attributed to past inventions, which began with the invention of moving pictures. The history of motion pictures is divided into two distinct periods. The first period is known as the silent period, which ran from the year 1895 to the year 1919. Notably, several developments took place during the silent period. The issue of silence was not intended. The silent period happened due to technical hindrances in synchronizing pictures with sound. As such, earlier movie directors only produced motion pictures without sound. However, musical artists usually accompanied the silent films on-site with the sole intention of improving the experience of the viewers. In addition, the showman would give a live commentary as the movies progressed.

Later on, interfiles were put in place to afford dialogue and explanation of the film. Through this advancement, movie narrators were abandoned. However, it should be noted that the practice of narration continued unabated in the Japanese cinema until the end of the silent period. The aforementioned technical hindrances were successfully rectified by 1923. Among the great silent movies were Gold Rush by Charles Chaplin, The General by Buster Keaton, The Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein, Metropolis by Fritz Lang, City Lights by Charlie Chaplin, The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Dreyer, and The Phantom of the Opera by Rupert Julian (Gomery & David 65). The common thing about all these silent movies was that they were all in black and white.

On the other hand, the second period is known as the sound period. This period runs from 1920 to the present. During the silent period, many experiments with sound film took place with the intention of producing movies as well as playback. The issue of failure to synchronize motion pictures had proved difficult to surmount. The first movie in which sound and pictures were synchronized was The Jazz Singer, released by Warner Bros in the year 1926.

The movie had most of its parts in silent mode but contained the first synchronized dialogue in such a film. The introduction of the vita-phone greatly enhanced the desired synchronization of the films with sound. In the rest of the world, economic and cultural reasons prevented the total changeover from silent to sound films.

Despite the current success in the growth of the movie industry, it should be noted that its future is under threat from other emerging issues. Chief among these issues is piracy and a drop in the number of those going to the theaters. In the movie, as well as in the music industry, piracy is such a pertinent issue. As such, piracy is the intentional and illegal publishing or reproduction of a movie, a print, videos, or electronic materials without the explicit permission of the author.

Piracy is cancer, which, if not checked, will threaten the future of the movie industry. It is a fact that piracy denies the movie stakeholders and the governments the much-desired returns and revenue. It also encourages laziness among the population because all they do is to wait for hardworking artists and producers to produce their work and then pirate it and sell it at a price lower than the recommended price.

Another major issue facing the movie industry is the decline in the number of individuals attending theatres. Unlike in the past few decades, the current number of people going to the movie theaters has declined drastically. Several factors account for this phenomenon. Chief among them is the technological innovations that have seen the entry of DVD players and large home screens. As such, people can watch movies from the comfort of their homes. Secondly, the same technological innovation has provided an e-market from where people can watch movies or buy. Through these advancements, the movie stakeholders and the government have been affected as their returns dwindle.

Technology in Movies

The latest technology in the movie is the representation of movies in 3D. Through this invention, movies can now be represented in three-dimension technologies rather than the usual two-dimension technologies. 3D technologies employ the use of appropriate filming techniques, which affords two different images at the same time to each eye and gives a stereoscopic view to the one watching. To achieve this, various setups such as anaglyphic processing and the polarized light system are brought into use. This technology gained a lot of popularity after the release of James Cameron’s movie Avatar that was represented in 3D.

Concerning movie making and equipment, the main equipment used are cameras, projectors, and mutoscopes. Before the early 1930s, most cameras were cranked using the hands. However, modern cameras are automatic and need no hand cranking. Similarly, early projectors employed the use of auto lights that were fixed with a hand-cranked apparatus to move the film. Currently, projectors have been modernized, although DVD players, among other innovations, are replacing their usage. Equally, the contemporary process of movie-making has been made easier through the advancement and availability of movie-making devices such as cameras, cam-coders, webcams, and smartphones. Unlike before, movies can be edited with ease for various occasions.

In conclusion, it should be acknowledged that the history of the movie is interesting as it is long. As such, the movie industry has made several strides to reach where they are currently (Dixon & Gwendolyn, 302). However, it is regrettable to note that technological advancement has led to others taking advantage and reaping where they did not sow from through piracy. In this regard, all the relevant authorities must protect the industry players against such vices. In the end, these initiatives will increase the artists’ income and earn the government the much-desired revenues.

Works Cited

Austin, Guy. Contemporary French cinema: an introduction. 2nd ed. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press ;, 2008. Print.

Dixon, Wheeler W., and Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. A short history of film. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2008. Print.

Gomery, Douglas, and David Bordwell. Shared pleasures: a history of movie presentation in the United States .3 ed. Madison (Wis.): University of Wisconsin Press, 2002. Print.

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