The film process may first have been created by Louis Le Prince
- , working in New York, who patented his process for "the
successive production... of objects in motion... by means of a projector
- " in 1886. But while raveling to Paris to demonstrate his
process in 1892 he vanished.
The first commercially
developed process was by Thomas Alva Edison's employee William Kennedy
Laurie Dickson, who first demonstrated his Kinetoscope in March
1891. The first public display of this process took place on May
20, 1891 to members of the National Federation of Women's Clubs - .
Dickinson left Edison Co. in 1895 and Edison himself claimed all
credit for the process. People were paying to view Kinetoscope films
by April 1894. The Kinetoscope was a powerful viewing experience
but a private one, meant for an individual or perhaps a family.
It was in America
that people were first induced to pay to watch - - in May 1895 in
a store on Broadway, New York. In Europe it was not until November
1895 in Berlin that a public 'film' was shown.
of the films shown in New York and Berlin was extremely poor and
used processes that had no lasting impact on film technology. The
'true' debut of the motion picture is therefore usually dated to
December 28, 1895 in Paris, where at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard
des Capucines - the Lumiere brothers had their first paying audience.
successful color process dates from 1906 when George Albert Smith -
produced a two - color system using panchromatic stock in Brighton
for Charles Urban - Trading Co. as Kinemacolor - . The first public
presentation was not until February 1909 in London, when a series
of twenty short films by the Natural Colour Kinematograph Company
was shown at the Palace Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. However there
were a number of problems with Kinemacolor and colour stock cannot
be regarded as a commercial reality until 1932 with the Technicolor
three - colour process.
sound - was first demonstrated in 1900 at the Paris Exposition -
with a separate sound - on - disc system. Sound - on - film was first patented
in 1906 by Eugene Lauste - in London, although the system was not
really successful until 1910 with the words "J'entends très
bien maintenant". A completed projector project was stymied
by the outbreak of war and it was not until September 1922 that
the process was demonstrated to an invited audience in Berlin. Yet
again it was in New York in April 1923 that people first paid.
The first (reasonably)
permanent cinema was the Vitascope Hall in New Orleans. It opened
in June 1896. Admission was 10 cents. The first important purpose - built
cinema was the Gaumont Film Company's Gaumont - Palace in Paris, which
opened in 1910 and could seat 5,000 people.
Soon, the French
concept of movies being shown in theaters became the dominant model,
and entrepreneurs scurried to build impressive movie houses all
across North America and Europe.
The shift that
occurred in the 1980s from seeing movies in a theater to watching
videos on a VCR, is a move quite close to the original idea of Thomas
Edison. In the early part of that decade, the movie studios tried
legal action to ban home ownership of VCRs as a violation of copyright
which proved unsuccessful. However, that proved most fortituous
as the sale and rental of their films on home video - became a
significant source of revenue for the film companies.
Film is now
(2001) in the process of making another transition, from physical
film stock to digital cinema technology, driven by the availability
of low cost data storage and high - resolution digital displays.