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A short history of filmmaking – part 1

02/04

To us living in 2015, filming has become absolutely common. Especially now that cameras are integrated into mobile phones, there is no reason not to film anything anymore. It’s hard to believe that cinema is actually just around 125 years young. There is a lot to learn about and from the history of filmmaking, so we decided to write a series of blog posts about this. And who knows, filming history might inspire you to make new movies with the Together app!

The first film camera was designed by Frenchman Louis Le Prince in 1888 (who actually worked in the UK at that time). That same year he shot the first-ever short movies: these were nothing more than pictures of his own surroundings. At the same time, also in the UK, William Friese-Greene invented celluloid: this is the material that had been used to shoot movies for over a century long and is still used in professional filmmaking.

Edison and his collaborators in America, and Lumiere brothers in France did some more groundbreaking work on film cameras. Finally, around the mid-1890′s ‘cinema’ became a regular thing. At first, filmmakers mainly filmed their surroundings and astonished the viewers, who flooded into circus tents used as traveling cinemas at that time. Just look at this film by the Lumiere brothers, which apparently went down a storm as the people got really frightened by the train coming towards them.

This YouTube rendition uses piano music, a popular way to accompany film back then. A live pianist would add some drama to the films that were shown, especially since at that moment, there was no sound being recorded yet. While the first film pioneers had been able to capture images on the screen, they hadn’t found out how to add sound yet.

So there you have it, the first movies. Why not try to re-create your own “silent movie”? Filming your surroundings and just adding music is a very simple but effective way to show something interesting or beautiful. Just go out there with your mobile device, choose something interesting to film and add music while leaving the actual sound off – this can be easily done with Together. Next week we’ll continue our look at cinematic history. So, stay tuned – and have fun making your own take on early cinema!

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