The Opening For The Amateur

In this country alone there are no less than 5,000 cinematograph theatres, besides travelling entertainers and educational establishments where the moving film has been adopted. New films are always in request, and for a really popular one the Continental and American rights fetch a considerable sum. Here is a chance for any one of artistic talent. The commercial films are far from good. In many places, especially in the country, it is easy to get together a number of characters and construct little amusing comedies which will be worthy of reproduction. Episodes of this kind and pastoral plays are the best field, leaving pageants and public events to the professional photographer, with whom it is unwise to attempt competition. A good camera and developing outfit is the only necessary outlay. When a good negative film is secured, the best plan is to send it to one of the leading firms, who will undertake the printing, and probably make an offer for the copyright.

The Founders Of Cinematography

In 1877, Muybridge of California took a large number of photographs of a trotting horse by employing a series of separate cameras arranged side by side, and illustrated his lectures on the subject by projection through a lantern. Anschutz, in Prussia, invented a camera wherein successive images were impressed on a rapidly moving plate, and revived the Zoetrope in an improved form, for the display of these movements. At about the same time, Mr. W. Friese-Greene took out the first patent for a machine, using a continuous celluloid film as the support for the series of moving negatives, and he must therefore be regarded as the father of Animated Photography in the modern sense. The Edison Kinetoscope appeared in 1891. In April 1895 Messrs. Lumiere, in Paris, and Mr. Birt Acres, in London, almost simultaneously arrived at a practical machine. Mr. Acres photographed the University Boat Race in that year. Other names to be remembered are Varley, Paul, and Maskelyne. The progress of the cinematograph, like that of all notable developments, is strewn with the wreckage of many ingenious but unhappy inventors. For the last ten years the records of the Patent Office show an average of two or three applications in each week, most of which have found oblivion at an early stage in their career.

Many of the commercial machines are capable of producing pictures at a very high speed, subject only to the adjustment of the shutter slit, and the provision of a driving power capable of imparting a uniform rate of motion. Machines for special scientific purposes have been devised, of extraordinary capacity, such as that by Dr. Cranz, of Berlin, which will photograph the path of a bullet fired at a bladder of water hung on a string. The effect of this film when drawn through the optical lantern at the ordinary rate is very curious, as well as instructive. More significant still are the photo-micrographic films, showing the domestic proceedings of the animalculae; and those illustrative of X-ray work, which latter we have not yet had an opportunity of seeing. Stereoscopic films are more a matter of expense than of any other difficulty, and altogether the applications of the cinematograph are each season becoming so various, that they are almost coterminous with photography itself. For one type of work alone we can say definitely the cinematograph film is ineligible - the hand camera. And the reason of this would be appreciated by the reader, if he had once witnessed the projection of a film prepared with the instrument held in the hand, and had experienced the hopeless giddy sensation while figures and buildings rock up and down, with an occasional desperate leap skyward followed by a plunge into the depths of the earth. One thing we must postulate for the animated-picture maker - a good, rigid, and reliable stand for the apparatus to rest upon.

The only modern handbook on the subject is by F. P. Liesegang, and at present there is no English translation.