||Dauguerre joins Niépce to
pursue photographic inventions.
||Fox Talbot in England produces photographs.
||Motion devices are used as parlor
games. Drawings revolving quickly around a spindle produce the illusion
||French astronomer Pierre Janson invents
a device, inspired by a revolver, to track an astronomical event.
A single camera registers 12 images per second at a regular interval.
||Thomas Edison records sound onto
||Eadweard Muybridge, survey photographer,
is hired by a horse breeder to answer questions about horses' gaits.
He sets up a special track with 12 cameras which are exposed by
the horse tripping a series of wires and creates 12 still photographs.
||Muybridge increases the number of
cameras to 24 and invents the Zoopraxiscope to show their images
||Edison invents the electric light.
||Etienne Marey, a French scientist
interested in the study of motion, creates a "photographic gun"
to capture images in time.
||Edison meets with Muybridge to discuss
uniting the Zoopraxiscope with Edison's phonograph in order to reproduce
images and sounds simultaneously.
||Marey's first film projector uses
clear film, developed by George Eastman, on an endless belt.
||Edison meets Marey, adopts his use
of celluloid strip film.
||Edison adds equidistant perforations
along both sides of the film to assist in smooth projection and
debuts the Kinetoscope, a "peep show" viewing machine, at the Chicago
||Edison sells Kinetoscope to storefront
penny arcade operators who set them up as one of their attractions.
Common subjects are one-minute long shots of vaudeville performers,
strong men, trick dogs, dancers and acrobats.
||The Lumière brothers in France
develop the first portable camera and present the first public screening
of projected film. The mobile camera allows for new exterior images
of far off places, people at the beach, city street life, trains
and ambulances rushing by. In an early fictional skit, a boy tricks
gardener into spraying himself with water.
||Edison demonstrates his motion pictures
in public showing at Music Hall in New York City on April 23rd.
Films are added to Vaudeville theater programs as the concluding
||Neighborhood storefront arcades include
projected films for a nickel to capitalize on a working class public
that can't afford a 25¢ vaudeville admission. These "Nickelodeons"
are hugely successful.
||Manufacturers need to supply their
equipment purchasers with films. They set up internal production
units and also buy films from freelance cameramen.
||The Spanish-American war inspires
patriotic simulations. Audience-titillating risqué subjects
feature a women's calf momentarily bared. Méliès makes
"trick films," playing with the camera's mechanical abilities.
||Edwin S. Porter comes to work for
Edison as a filmmaker.
||A strike by vaudeville performers
causes theater owners to explore new ideas to attract and maintain
business. For the first time they present all-film programs and
are surprisingly successful.
||"All-movie" storefront theaters begin
to spring up, some marketing themselves as fit for women and children.
||Porter directs Life of An American
Fireman and The Great Train Robbery, beginning to use more shots,
more locations and actual stories with suspense and movement, The
public becomes interested in this more complete, novel-like storytelling.
Comic chases and westerns become quite popular.
||In France, Pathé colors black
and white films by machine.
||An animated cartoon film is produced.
||Edison ruthlessly pursues control
over the income from his inventions until all but one of the major
film producers are under license to his company, forced to only
sell or rent their films to licensed distributors and exhibitors.
||Production units start traveling
to Los Angeles to continue filming through winters. Florida and
Cuba were also tried, but LA offers accessible and varied locations
from mountain to desert to sea, plus cheap, non-union labor and
||The storefront movies grow so successful,
there are over 600 in the greater New York area alone.
||D.W. Griffith starts directing films
at Biograph and develops a more complex filming style, using more
shots, putting the camera closer to actors' faces and intricate
editing techniques. In effect, Griffith consolidates a new way of
communicating, a language that expresses and capitalizes on unique
resources of motion pictures.
||William Fox takes over vaudeville
houses, lowers prices to 5 or 10¢, fills half the program with
films and turns a profit.
||The nine principal producing companies
organize the Motion Picture Patent Company. They use equipment and
process patents to cement control of all phases of the business:
production, distribution and exhibition.
||Independent film production companies
spring up to service non-licensed distributors which the Patent
Co. had deemed to small to bother with. Independents begin showing
and advertising the names of actors and directors, helping to attract
the public to their film and drawing talent to their companies.
||The Patent Co. envelops over 60 licensed
distributors, creating the monopolistic General Film Co.
||After a conflict with General Film
Co. in which his supply of films was cut off, Fox becomes convinced
that a distributor needs to control his own supply and resolve to
integrate vertically-controlling production, distribution and exhibition.
||Production output of the independent
film companies grows to nearly equal that of the Patent Co. companies.
||In an election year move, the Wilson
administration sues the Patent Co. for restraint of trade.
||Motorized movie cameras replace hand
||While in California for the winter,
Griffith secretly makes a 4-reel film (a length not allowed under
Patent Co. rules). Biograph is unhappy and delays distribution.
Griffith quits and moves to an independent production company.
||Theater builders begin making palatial
and sumptuous movie palaces to draw greater audiences.
||Mack Sennett hires Charlie Chaplin,
who perfects the silent comedy.
||Production companies and their studios
begin to congregate in the Los Angeles area. To ensure profits,
they develop an intricate system for releasing films in a way that
guarantees a certain income, no matter what the quality of an individual
||Griffith's Birth of a Nation premiers.
At 2 hours, it is meant to prove the epic power and grandeur of
cinematic expression and to appeal to a relatively untapped audience
-The American elite.
||The Justice Department declares the
Patent Co. an illegal conspiracy.
||Harry Aitken establishes Triangle
pictures and finances it by selling shares - the first time a film
company goes public.
||"Hollywood" blossoms into a large-scale
industry, with bureaucracy, hierarchies and its own particular lifestyle
of both high-flying gaiety and abject desperation. But this rapid
growth and vertical integration requires capital and the studios
become increasingly dependent on stockholders and bankers.
||Commercial radio broadcasting begins.
||While plowing a field, 14-year old
capturing images by scanning them with electrons along furrow-like
||Film attendance begins to decline,
perhaps as a combined result of radio and more affordable cars.
||The studios' financial struggles
increase, particularly as expensive majestic movie palaces drain
money from their pockets.
||Don Juan is released with an orchestral
accompaniment and sound effects on a disc. Others print a sound
track on a hidden optical band along the edge of the film. However,
most studios are busy fighting legal battles and are also reluctant
to make the required investment in new equipment and technology.
However, William Fox and the Warner Bros. take the plunge.
||The Academy of Motion Picture Art
and Sciences is formed in Hollywood.
||The Warner Bros. The Jazz Singer
opens in New York to great acclaim. It is, in fact, only a partial
"talkie" - with musical numbers and a few lines of dialogue only.
But the audiences clamor for more.
captures the first electronic image.
||As all the studios switch to talkies,
the restrictive needs of the new technology temporarily forces a
regression in films' storytelling and visual energy. However, in
a few years, the ever intensive industry solves the problems by
developing quieter camera motors and lights, and more flexible sound
equipment and techniques. Again, this all requires capitol, as well
as a dependence on the sound companies, particularly Western Electric,
a subsidiary of AT&T.
||Academy accepts Fox/Case sound track
system resulting in the Academy film format. The Fox Grandeur (wide
film) is shown in first release film.
||A motion picture is shown in color,
but the technique is not used widely.
||The stock market crashes. The studios
hang on for awhile, bolstered by the people's love of sound movies
and their need to escape the harsh realities of the times. Sound
||Despite efforts to draw audiences,
such as offering concessions and nightly drawings and give-aways,
the Depression catches up with the studios, and many go into receivership
or bankruptcy. There is a rash of take-overs and mergers.
||Three-color Technicolor is used briefly
in a live action film.
||The Production Code Administration
begins enforcing a set of rules designed to ensure morality in the
movies. Filmmakers turn to making light, romantic screwball comedies
and films of classic novels.
produces the first demonstration of a working television system.
||Eastman Kodak develops Kodachrome
color film. Becky Sharp is the first all color feature length film.
||Daily demonstration broadcasts were
being made by Harry Lubke from the Don Lee Broadcsting System radio
studios at 7th & Bixel streets in Los Angeles using a 300 line
24-frame progressive system.
||The Justice Department files anti-trust
suits against eight film companies, but is satisfied for a time
by a consent decree promising alterations of the studios' restrictive
and extremely profitable booking practices.
||Gone With the Wind is released. It
relies heavily on special effects such as painted glass mats and
optical compositing to create the illusion of spacious plantation
mansions and daring rides through burning cities.
||New York World's Fair shows television
to the public and regular television broadcasting begins.
||New York World's Fair demonstrates
first public demonstration of 3-D movies.
||A Pennsylvania appliance store owner
tries to boost television sales by bringing a better signal into
his valley town, thus developing cable technology.
||During World War II, sales of TVs
are halted and film producers return to black and white filming.
||The Justice Department re-opens its
||97% of the population owns a radio
and listens to it 4-6 hours a day but moviegoers only go to the
movies 3 times a month.
||Movie attendance begins to fall even
further, perhaps as new parents stay home with their "baby boom"
||Hearings by the House Un-American
Activities Committee lead to blacklists and a spate of timid and
||Television is introduced on a widespread
basis. By 1951, there are 1,500,000 TV sets in the U.S.
||A court declares that vertical integration
of studios and exhibitors violates anti-trust laws and must cease.
||Samuel Goldwyn writes an article,
"Hollywood in the Television Age," in which he suggests that, to
compete, the film industry has three choices: 1. own their own television
stations 2. deliver first run movies to homes via telephone wires
in an early version of pay-TV 3. develop large-screen theatre television
so that one "print" can be carried by leased wires simultaneously
to thousands of theatres. None of the three options are pursued.
Option 1 doesn't seem advisable with
the court pursuing anti-trust actions, Option 2 involves competing
with established TV networks for room on the dial, and Option 3
would mean a complete unraveling of the intricate releasing system.
The studios turn to other ideas...
||Stereoscopic 3-Dimensional films
succeed in gaining a brief period of audience interest.
||"Bwana Devil", produced by Arch Oboler is considered the first color, American
3-D feature. It started the 3-D boom in the U.S. film making industry from 1952 to 1954.
||The large-screen Cinerama system
is developed, using multiple projectors to create a visual spectacle
certainly not available on a home TV set. However, it is quite expensive
and cumbersome and would require a major re-tooling of theaters.
||The 1953 "House of Wax" was an early example of the 3-D film craze of the early 1950s.
The film was the first 3-D color feature from a major American studio, and was the first 3-D feature released by a major studio.
It followed the very successful premiere several months earlier of the independent production, "Bwana Devil", both sparking the
3-D film boom of the 1950s. House of Wax premiered nationwide on April 10, 1953 and went out for a general release on
April 25, 1953.
||20th Century Fox develops CinemaScope,
in which the use of an anamorphic lens allows the illusion of wider
screen projection with the simple change-out of one part. Other
studios follow with VistaVision and PanaVision.
||Without a guaranteed-profitable first
run, stars and their drawing power become even more important to
||Television begins broadcasting in
color on a regular basis.
||The Academy of Motion Picture Arts
and Sciences presents Ampex with an Oscar for technical achievement.
"Smell-O-Vision" is introduced and
quickly rejected by the public.
||Interest in foreign, "art" and classic
films increases as the children of television discover there is
||"The Stewardessesr" is released in 3D and is
a huge hit. It used a single strip 3D process with the left and right images anamorphically
squeezed on the film. Chris J. Condon designed the 3D aquisition and projection lenses.
||The Godfather is released and is
a huge hit. The studios begin to look for more of such "home run"
||Service electric, a cable system
in Pennsylvania, offers pay TV, calling it Home Box Office.
||Sony markets the first Betamax VCR
for home viewing and recording of video and JVC quickly follows
||Cable reaches its mature form, becoming
a means for delivering new and varied types of programing through
specialty and pay-per-view channels.
||Dolby Laboratories introduces Dolby
Stereo for movies.
||Lucas' Star Wars and Spielberg's
Close Encounters of the Third Kind are released and are hits, relying
on good storytelling but also breaking into new special-effects
||Philips markets the first video laser
||Computers for individual use develop
rapidly in both power and speed and infiltrate the film business.
||Computer-based non-linear editing
systems are introduced and within a few short years dominate post-production.
Likewise, digital media for sound recording and processing quickly
become the norm.
||Computer-generated special effects
in Terminator 2 are visually stunning and firmly established the
computer as the most powerful special effects tool yet developed.
||The first public demonstration of
digital cinema. Pacific Bell and Sony Pictures Entertainment sent
the movie Bugsy from the lot in Culver City to the Anaheim Convention
Center where a theater had been setup...100s attended and it recieved
more news coverage than any other single event in telephone history.
||A reel of film is projected at Skywalker
Sound in Los Angeles, with the sound track being transmitted simultaneously
into the screening room from Skywalker Sound in Northern California.
||DirecTV is launched, using satellites
in geosynchronous orbit to beam signals to a small receiving dish
at each user's home.
||Toy Story is released, the first
completely computer-generated feature film.
||CD-ROM disks are able to store a
full-length feature film.
||Computers reach higher saturation
in homes and businesses. The development of the hyper text transfer
protocol allows mainstream America to join in a world-wide network
of computers and computer users.
||DVDs are introduced and quickly surge
to popularity and gaining critical mass.
||Digital cinema demonstrations to
the public begin. On June 19th in four theatres, two on the West
coast and two on the East coast. Lucas Films and 20th Century Fox
debuted "Star Wars: Episode 1 -- The Phantom Menace" as the first
major motion picture theatrically exhibited as digital cinema using
a Pluto digital storage system in the D-5 compression format.
The Ideal Husband is shown at Infocomm
in digital cinema. This was one of the last demonstartion using
the Hughes/JVC ILA projector.
Tarzan, Toy Story 2 and Bicentennial
Man are released by Disney in the new digital cinema format using
the QuVIS wavelet based compression algorithms.
||February, digital cinema demonstrations
go international with two theaters equipped in London, England,
one Manchester, England, one in Brussels, Belgium, one in Paris,
France and one in Tokyo, Japan for all digital showings of Toy Story
March 6th, Christie Systems, Inc.
announced today that it has been selected as the first OEM to
manufacture digital cinema projectors using Texas Instruments
DLP Cinema technology. The agreement will allow Christie to develop
the Christie DigiPro series of digital projectors using DLP Cinema
Mission to Mars (March), Dinosaur
(May) and Fantasia 2000 (June) are released by Disney in the digital
June 6th, 20th Century Fox, Qwest,
Cisco, Texas Instruments, QuVis, Barco Projection Systems, Eastern
Acoustic Works, and Sigma Design Group demonstrate the world's
first digital cinema network distribution and exhibition system.
The movie was "Titan AE"
The Blair Witch Project becomes
a hit primarily through marketing on the Web and Web-borne word
of mouth. Studios realize the potential power of this new realm
to bring them their film audiences. However, others also realize
the new technology is, in itself, a new medium in which there
is the potential to create a new sort of entertainment, a new
sort of storytelling. Yet others begin to use the Web as an alternate
means of distribution for personal, independent and undiscovered
motion picture entertainment. More international digital cinema
theatres were added in: Tlanepantla, Mexico, Seoul, Korea,
Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany, Madrid and Barcelona, Spain.
December 14th, Sunset Post, Inc.,
Glendale, CA opens the first THX certified Digital Cinema Mastering
||As of January 1st there are 32 theatres
in the world equipped to display digital cinema. Over 1.9 million
movie patrons have seen 15 different movies in the digital cinema
January, Japan opens the first totally
digital cinema theatre.
March 7th, Technicolor Digital Cinema
demonstrates, at ShoWest, Qualcomm's Adaptive Block Size Discrete
Cosine Transform (ABSDCT) image compression algorithm.
April 23rd, Qualcomm, a pioneer
in digital cinema technology, has entered into a development license
agreement with Teranex, Inc., to demonstrate ABSDCT image compression
technology on the Teranex video computer platform.
July 17th, Jurasic Park III opens
at Lowes Universal Studios Cinemas on two screens in the Digital
Theatre Interim Mastering (DTIM) format using for the first time
"MPEG 2 Plus" constant quality compression based on the MPEG 2
compression standard. The multi-screen digital cinema theatre
used a server, provided by the Grass Valley Group, to feed two
Christie "DigiPro" DLP "black chip" projectors.
The film was transfered using a Cintel
"C-Reality" telecine. Color correction was done on a Da
Vinci 2K and was screened on Sunset Digital's (formerly Sunset
Post) THX certified D-Cinemastage.
December 7th, "Ocean's 11" opened
in 19 Technicolor Digital Cinemas. 6 new theatres have been added
bringing the total worldwide digital cinema theatres up to 40.
Technicolor Digital Cinemas use the Qualcomm's ABSoluteTM
(formerly ABSDCT) image compression technology and the QDEC-1000
||As of March 1st digital cinema technology
has now been exposed to over four million movie-goers throughout
the world. These digital cinema demonstrations began on June
18th 1999. Since that time, over 30 movies have been released
in an all-digital form, including: 'The Perfect Storm', 'Spy
Kids', 'Shrek', 'Final Fantasy' and 'The Spirits Within'.
The total number of digital cinema
theatres now is over forty with the addition of the Shanghai Paradise
Theatre in Shanghai, China and The Palace Theatre in Budapest,
March 5th, Director George Lucas
shows a "Star Wars - Episode II" trailer shot entirely on digital
24-frame progressive high definition. The footage was shown at
Showest in Las Vegas, Nevada and was projected digitally using
DLP Cinema technology.
Seven major motion picture studios
form NDC/Newco to set new standards for digital cinema.
May 16th, Lucasfilm's "Star Wars:
Episode II - Attack of the Clones" opens in more than 94 digital
cinema theatres worldwide. The digitally mastered film shot entirely
on digital 24-frame progressive high definition is said to be
the first film to skip traditional film photography.
Multiple digitally mastered film
inter-negatives were made of Star Wars to generate the traditional
film prints delivered to conventional, non-digital cinema theatres.
July 1st, There are now no less
than six digital titles competing for the 120 screens in the United
States, four of which are: Star Wars, Windtalkers, Scooby-Doo
and Spirit and Lilo and Stitch.