Home > Free Essays > History > United States > The period encompassing the invention of cinema

The period encompassing the invention of cinema Research Paper

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Nov 4th, 2018

Significant precursor of motion picture technology

Motion pictures have been the most influential technologies of the past hundred years. A photographic technique for capturing action became a new medium, a significant part of the economy, and a dominant part of the economy and the popular culture (Stokes 28). A long series of technical development established the medium and allowed permission for it to grow as a way of expressing the visions of filmmakers and to offer entertainment for most of the world`s population.

A significant precursor to motion picture includes the Zoetrope. This motion picture was developed in 1834 and it provided the impression of constant motion when the viewer watched a suddenly changing series of still images. In 1892, a practical viewing apparatus was developed by Edison and Dickson. This allowed an individual to look through a viewer at the top of a cabinet that looked like a box in order to see the black lighted film. During the years around 1900, the basic technology of camera and projector was created and refined.

By about 1910, 34-millimetre film used by Edison became the international standard. Therefore, because of the establishment of the photographic film at that time that required the use of great illumination, the application of the electric spotlight that was introduced in 1904 in theatres became essential in making movies (Negra 84). In addition, in 1919, a much more intense carbon- arc lamp began to be applied although majority of the filming continued to use natural lighting.

The rate at which the motion picture grew was quite amazing despite the fact that there had been many previous storytelling films such as “The Great Train Robbery” by Edwin S. Porter that was released in 1903 and attracted much attention for its narrative style. In addition, Porter`s film “life of an American” is another film that made Porter to be a significant precursor of motion picture technology. For instance, this film was significant because of its outstanding manifestation of early cinema`s representational practices.

The picture represents a consolidation of Edwin porter s development as a filmmaker. Nickelodeons where film was projected on a screen began showing in towns in about 1905. These were mainly long, narrow rooms that a large number of people could occupy. For instance, in the U.S., there were over ten thousand nickelodeons serving over ten million viewers per week in 1910.

Therefore, with time, films were extended into theatres where they were most of the time part of a huge entertainment program that included vaudeville acts (Nickieann 32). In about 1910, particularly in Europe, there was a step toward feature films that lasted an hour or even more.

In the U.S., D.W.Griffith`s 1915 “The Birth of a nation” demonstrated this move. In addition, this period led to the emergency of Hollywood movies which was taken as a centre for making movies. Film companies gravitated there for its affordable land, climate, and lack of labour unions.

During the period of silent movies, it was moderately easy to transport films to other nations and as a result, the U.S. movie industry had to set up distribution offices overseas. However, World War I interfered with the European film production rapidly thus making Hollywood to gradually dominate the whole world. As years went by, there was a significant technological proceed in the expansion of sound movies.

The significant social and cultural pressures that the led to the appearance of moving pictures

In order to understand the main purpose why a film was established, it is necessary that some interpretations concerning the historical role of the film are performed well. It is true that most filmmakers are after making profit and that in order for any film to attract and maintain its audience, it has to be interesting and engaging. Therefore, the social and cultural pressures that led to the appearance of moving pictures included gender, race, class, sexuality, religious, and moral values, and wars such as World War I (Manchel 45).

Some moving pictures were responding to the social and cultural pressures such as the rights of women as voters, race relations, pacifism and birth control. Therefore, such factors are undoubtedly part of the main reason in making these moving pictures.

Furthermore, a considerable number of other moving pictures respond or express their attitude toward the proper role of a woman in the society, racial equality among cultural diversified societies, and the environment of conflict or the folks with no declaring a position. In most cases however, reflecting these attitudes was not the main goal of filmmaking, but the attitudes themselves may have had a strong influence in determining a dominion of ordinary supposition.

Still, films in moving pictures may change effectively their main goal depending on the changes and pressures of social and cultural moves. These may cause the film to be redefined, by repositioning, addition of a different commentary, or simply because there has been a change on the background of the audience.

For instance, moving pictures of racist, humour, cruelty to animals or human creature or gender attitudes tacitly assumed to be shared by audiences familiar to such scenes, although it could appear strange to a contemporary viewer that a comic scene becomes tragic.

Almost all moving pictures have concepts about politics, society and morality. Therefore, in order to understand the ideologies included in films, it is necessary to know the writer and the reaction of the public towards the film. For instance, in the film “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) by D.W Griffith that was written during the time of the civil war, southern blacks are portrayed as inhuman and lascivicious while their northern white allies are portrayed as scheming, deceitful, and overconfident.

Moreover, it demonstrates southern white characters as suffering frequent political and sexual humiliation under the rule of white northerners and black southerners before being comforted by the valiant riders of Ku Klux Klan (Musser 57).

Ways in which the modes of cinematic production, distribution, and exhibition changed between the end of the nineteenth century and 1915

The modes of the cinema lie in the progress of mass communication technology. According to studies, the cinema serves as the peak of an era that saw the discovery of the cable, camera work, the typewriter, the record player, roll film, George Eastman`s motion picture film, Thomas Edison`s motion picture camera and the motion picture projector.

For instance, Edison took responsibility in the growth of the gramophone, and energy, used the record player as a model for his discovery of the motion picture. The Kinetoscope along with the telegraph, photograph, the telephone, and the wireless telegraph changed the look of the late nineteenth century film culture.

Conventional ideas of space and distance that were based in section on how long it took to get from one geological location to another because conventional ideas of time went through revision as still photographs captured moments of the current in ways that had evaded more archaic appearance of representation.

For instance, sketches, painting and sculptures record events instantaneously before they disappear into memory. Therefore, the current and previous are saved from the passage of time, carried out of its constant process and frozen for all to view. Motion pictures as a result proof and replicate the stream of time in a manner that was not promising in the previous years, even in photography.

The film industry became more and more stable and in 1908, the main film producers joined together to create the motion picture patents company which tried to manage all features of motion picture production, distribution and exhibition.

Therefore, exhibitors and producers tried to enlarge the marketplace of consistent movie viewers to comprise larger and superior figures of those who had previously only reached high school amusements like the theatre and vaudeville. The development of the movies comprised considerably more than merely upgrading motion picture content form powerful people (Lanzon 56). Therefore, they were required to adapt more multifaceted story resources to the screen.

Furthermore, they were also forced to upgrade their own capacities as storytellers. American cinema advanced its intention on the perfection of narrative skills because mere theatrical portray demonstrated less and less capable of illustrating multifaceted quality of authors such as Dickens began to request for more complicated film narratives than had their precursors. Therefore, Griffith as a film director tried to offer these new audiences with the sorts of narratives with which they were familiar in the theatre or in literature.

The cinema by Griffith aggressively described events, moulding the perception of the audience. He achieved this by devising an approach of corresponding editing which engaged wounding back and onward from two or more concurrent happenings taking place in detach spaces.

Therefore, production, exhibition and distribution went through a sequence of reorganizations in the two decades of the cinema. Previously, films and projection machines were produced by the similar company and these were provided to vaudeville theatres as a complete package. Thus, by revolve of the century, both films and machines were sold publicly, and entrepreneurs acquired the film and became exhibitors therefore marking the first differentiation within the industry.

Around 1905 the next essential differentiation happened as exchanges appeared and the middlemen purchased films from production companies and rented them to exhibitors (Fell 34). As a result, there was an increase of availability of films to exhibitors leading to the explosion of Nickelodeon. The furthermost change of early film style came with the adoption of new narrative codes that portrayed character motives and planned storytelling devices.

To a small extent, this transformation in the style of narration parallels the trials to regulate and rationalize the film industry that culminated in the formation of the motion pictures in 1908. This great scale transformation of American filmmaking has frequently been called the transitional time, marking its mediation between the radically different previous cinema and the development of the traditional concept.

How the aesthetic of the cinema of attractions defined by gunning function within the early public sphere of silent cinema described by Hansen

According to Hansen, early cinema`s difference from traditional cinema reflects its function as an oppositional public sphere, permitting viewer relationships that would become suppressed in the traditional concept (Ezra 67). The multiplicity of exhibit evident in the cinema of attractions did not entice viewers to lose their sense of being present in a public space.

The direct tackle of the cinema of desirability motivates gratitude of the spectator as part of an audience, rather than as an atomized customer absorbed into the rational illusory world of the traditional theory. The lack of devices channelling observer attention into following a narrative meant that the cinema of desirability permitted more inventive liberty.

Why continuity editing and its features open a key shift in the history of silent film

Continuity editing always maintains the aesthetic quality of descriptions prior to and after a cut of similar films are considered to diminish the disruption and uncertainty caused by cuts and to establish narrative causality (Barker 90). Continuity editing has the purpose to present events in sequential order and show events only once.

For instance, American director and film pioneer Porter assisted to transfer film making towards description of a story influential with such films. It involved editing features such as overlapping action and crosscut editing. The film was combined with prospects of the firemen reacting to the sound of the alarm.

How Hansen`s notion of the spectator help explain this development

The Hansen`s opinion of spectator help explain the development of continuity editing through the cinematic acculturation by relating the learning process that the early spectators went through (Altman 78). The theatre body and its communication in the films pursue the progress of the filmmaking.

According to Hansen, the spectator materialized along with a set of codes and conventions, therefore, the learning process will bring the spectator to understand the cinematic illusion such as the boundaries between theatre space and space of illusion.

Works Cited

Altman, Rick. Film and attraction: From kinematography to cinema. California: University of Illinois Press, 2011. Print.

Barker, Adam. Early cinema: Space, frame, narrative. Boston: BFI Publishing, 2010. Print.

Ezra, Elizabeth. George Méliès. California: Manchester University Press, 2000. Print.

Fell, John. Film before Griffith. California: University of California Press, 1993. Print.

Lanzon, Remi. French cinema: from its beginnings to the present. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004. Print.

Manchel, Frank. Film study: An analytical bibliography. Michigan: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990. Print.

Musser, Charles. Before the nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. California: University of California Press, 1991. Print.

Negra, Diane. A feminist reader in early cinema. Michigan: Duke University Press, 2002. Print.

Nickieann, Fleener-Marzec. D. W. Griffith’s the birth of a nation: controversy, suppression, and the first amendment as it applies to filmic expression, 1915-1973. Michigan: Arno Press, 1998. Print.

Stokes, Melvin. D. W. Griffith’s the birth of a nation: a history of the most controversial motion picture of all time. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

This research paper on The period encompassing the invention of cinema was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Research Paper sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a citation style:


IvyPanda. (2018, November 4). The period encompassing the invention of cinema. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-period-encompassing-the-invention-of-cinema/

Work Cited

"The period encompassing the invention of cinema." IvyPanda, 4 Nov. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/the-period-encompassing-the-invention-of-cinema/.

1. IvyPanda. "The period encompassing the invention of cinema." November 4, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-period-encompassing-the-invention-of-cinema/.


IvyPanda. "The period encompassing the invention of cinema." November 4, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-period-encompassing-the-invention-of-cinema/.


IvyPanda. 2018. "The period encompassing the invention of cinema." November 4, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-period-encompassing-the-invention-of-cinema/.


IvyPanda. (2018) 'The period encompassing the invention of cinema'. 4 November.

More related papers
Psst... Stuck with your
assignment? 😱
Psst... Stuck with your assignment? 😱
Do you need an essay to be done?
What type of assignment 📝 do you need?
How many pages (words) do you need? Let's see if we can help you!