One industry that has experienced drastic changes over the years is the film industry. There have been countless innovations that have helped in shaping modern cinema, and we can thank several inventors for that. Producers, directors and filmmakers alike have searched for ways to make the viewing experience for audiences even better. They start by asking the questions “what else can we do” or “how can we turn this into something different,” which results in even bigger innovations in the end.
ExploreTalent takes a look at the biggest inventions in cinema and details on how this molded the industry we all love and appreciate today.
1. Movie Camera (late 1800s)
The movie camera is a late invention during the 1800s. It was the visual medium that allowed filmmakers to capture a series of photographs and turn them into a filmstrip. Over time, it developed to the camera we know of today. There is argument as to who can take credit for making the first camera, though, but timelines state that Louis Le Prince‘s camera was created in 1888, making his invention the predecessor of the modern camera.
The Lumiere Brothers have been noted to take the medium to the masses as well, and they in turn influenced other pioneers such as George Melies, who is responsible for adding narrative to moving images.
2. Sound (late 1920s)
Way before sound was incorporated to cinemas everywhere, silent films were all the rage. Charlie Chaplin had been known to popularize slapstick comedy during this time. This was also the era where projectionists were hired to do live sound effects to make a film more entertaining.
It was in the year 1927 when audiences could hear actual sound coming out from a feature film. The movie The Jazz Singer was the first to present synchronized dialogue and singing throughout its screening. It did not take too long for sound to become an important part of filmmaking.
3. Color (1939)
Black-and-white films are always stunningly beautiful, even in the eyes of modern cinema goers. In fact, 2011’s Oscar winner for best film The Artist was told without color or dialogue. But color can make a movie even more visually pleasing. Take for example 1939’s Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland wherein the magical land of Oz was introduced in full technicolor. A newer example would be director Wes Anderson‘s signature films. The way he injects and arranges each color palate makes all the scenes even more pleasing than they already are.
4. Dolly (1907) and Steadicam (1976)
Segundo de Chomon is said to be the inventor of the dolly. Dolly cameras helped progress the viewing experience through expanding camera movement by putting it on wheels. The wheels utilize a track to move around and to keep it steady throughout the progress. Nowadays, cameramen can now sit on the sides to check on the footage while rolling.
Toward the end of the seventies, experimental cameras were being used for hand-held shots in order to achieve the stability of a dolly movement. Garrett Brown was the first to develop smooth shots by experimenting on a weight distribution method. He achieved this by connecting a camera through a special vest. The moving arm of the vest held the steadicam, giving it balance and preventing the captured image from being shaky. Brown applied this to capture the 1980 horror movie The Shining. It can be notably seen during numerous moments throughout the film, such as when the young boy rides the bicycle toward the hallway or during the chase scene in the maze. The steadicam is now so iconic, that many have regarded it as a predecessor to the IMAX cameras of today.
Ever wondered how the Star Wars movie was made? Well, a lot of you know that it was created through green screen, but the imagery that is added after production is called VFX, and a great part of it is CGI (computer-generated imagery).
Both Star Wars and the Tron were the early users of this type of effects, but perhaps the most well known for incorporating this technology in his movies is award-winning director James Cameron. A slew of his successful films such as The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar have all utilized VFX.
6. 3-D and Imax
Speaking of James Cameron, his 2009 movie Avatar was made even more popular with the introduction of 3-D and IMAX. Nowadays, most films are getting their fair share of 3-D/IMAX treatment and many have raked in impressive sales in the box office.
But the most notable 3-D release in history had to be Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws 3D, which was met with a great response since it provided audiences a one-of-a-kind interactive experience in the cinema.
Like 3-D, IMAX has given an even more exciting viewing experience with its high-definition images. But due to its expense, not all films shoot in full IMAX sequence.