August 27, 2008

The World's First Motion Pictures - Muybridge and Le Prince

Eadweard J. Muybridge (April 9, 1830 – May 8, 1904) was an English photographer, known primarily for his early use of multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the celluloid film strip that is still used today" according to Wikipedia.

In 1872 Muybridge, acting on a request by then governor of California Leland Stanford who wanted to know if at any point a galloping horse did not have all four hooves on the ground, filmed this animated sequence of a race horse galloping. The resulting 24 pictures taken as the trotting horse raced past, was the beginning of what is generally recognized as stop-action series photography. "In 1877, says Wikipedia, Muybridge settled Stanford's question with a single photographic negative showing Stanford's racehorse Occident airborne in the midst of a gallop."

When seen through the Zoopraxiscope (as early as 1879), Muybridge's "Horse in Motion" photographs are considered by many in the know to be the world's first motion pictures.

This is ”Walking and turning around rapidly with a satchel in one hand, a cane in the other”, 1887

I absolutely love this sort of stuff and since I'm in the mood for delving into the fascinating history of cinematography, l decided to post this piece of history. The really, really short YouTube video below is the earliest surviving film. It is called "Roundhay Garden Scene" and it was shot at a house in Leeds, England in 1888 by French inventor Louis Le Prince.

The film was recorded at 12 frames per second and Le Prince is said to have succeeded in making pictures move before the Lumieres and Thomas Edison.

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