Auguste and Louis Lumière

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Auguste and Louis Lumière

Auguste and Louis Lumière

The Lumière (brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas (19 October 1862, Besançon, France – 10 April 1954, Lyon) and Louis Jean (5 October 1864, Besançon, France – 6 June 1948, Bandol),are credited to be first filmmakers in history. They patented the cinematograph, which contrary to Edison's "peepshow" kinetoscope, the former allowed viewing by multiple parties at once, like current cinema. Their first film, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in 1894, is considered the first real motion picture in history.Curiously, their surname, "Lumière", is French for "light".

History

The Lumière brothers were born in Besançon, France and moved to Lyon in 1870, where both attended La Martiniere, the largest technical school in Lyon. Their father, Claude-Antoine Lumière (1840–1911), ran a photographic firm and both brothers worked for him: Louis as a physicist and Auguste as a manager. Louis had made some improvements to the still-photograph process, the most notable being the dry-plate process, which was a major step towards moving images.

It was not until their father retired in 1892 that the brothers began to create moving pictures. They patented a number of significant processes leading up to their film camera, most notably film perforations (originally implemented by Emile Reynaud) as a means of advancing the film through the camera and projector. The original cinématographe had been patented by Léon Guillaume Bouly on 12 February 1892. The brothers patented their own version on 13 February 1895. The first footage ever to be recorded using it was recorded on March 19, 1895. This first film shows workers leaving the Lumière factory.

First film screenings

The Lumières held their first private screening of projected motion pictures in 1895. Their first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 50 seconds.

The brothers stated that "the cinema is an invention without any future" and declined to sell their camera to other filmmakers such as Georges Méliès. This made many film makers upset. Consequently, their role in the history of film was exceedingly brief. They turned their attentions to colour photography and in 1903 they patented a colour photography process, the "Autochrome Lumière", launched on the market in 1907. Throughout much of the 20th century, the Lumière company was a major producer of photographic products in Europe, but the brand name, Lumière, disappeared from the marketplace following merger with Ilford.

Other early cinematographers

The Lumière Brothers were not the only ones to claim the title of the first cinematographers. The scientific chronophotography devices developed by Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey and Ottomar Anschütz in the 1880s were able to produce moving photographs, as was William Friese-Greene's 'chronophotographic' system, demonstrated in 1890, and Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope (developed by W K-L Dickson), premiered in 1891. Since 1892, the projected drawings of Émile Reynaud's Théâtre Optique were attracting Paris crowds to the Museé Grevin. Louis Le Prince and Claude Mechant had been shooting moving picture sequences on paper film as soon as 1888, but had never performed a public demonstration. Polish inventor, Kazimierz Prószyński had built his camera and projecting device, called Pleograph, in 1894. Max and Emil Skladanowsky, inventors of the Bioscop, had offered projected moving images to a paying public one month earlier (November 1, 1895, in Berlin). Nevertheless, film historians consider the Grand Café screening to be the true birth of the cinema as a commercial medium, because the Skladanowsky brothers' screening used an extremely impractical dual system motion picture projector that was immediately supplanted by the Lumiere cinematographe.


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