Precursors of Cinema

by Glorie
Last updated 4 years ago

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Precursors of Cinema

Precursors of Cinema

c. 3200 BCAn earthen bowl found in Shahr-I Sokhta, Iran, had five images of a goat painted along the sides. This is believed to be an example of early animation.

c. 360 BCPlato’s allegory of the cave described a cinema-like experience of an audience watching silhouetted images in a dark space.

c. 200 BCShadow plays first appeared during the Han Dynasty and later gained popularity across Asia.

1515Leonardo da Vinci described a structure that would produce the Camera Obscura effect.

1671Athanasius Kircher projected images painted on glass plates with an oil lamp and a lens known as the ‘Magic Lantern' or Lanterna Magica.It is the precursor of the first motion picture projector. At the close of the 17th century, traveling showmen (lanternists) would put on shows at any venue they could use, including castles. The term "magic" lantern is derived from the fact that these shows featured devils, ghosts and goblins.

1824A thaumatrope was a toy used in the Victorian era. It was a disk or card with two different pictures on each side that was attached to two pieces of string. When the strings were twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image. The creator of this invention may have been either John Ayrton Paris or Charles Babbage.

1834 A zoetrope is a device which creates the image of a moving picture. This contraption was produced in 1834 by William George Horner. The device is basically a cylinder with vertical slits around the sides. Around the inside edge of the cylinder there are a series of pictures on the opposite side to the slits. As the cylinder is spun, the user then looks through the slits producing the illusion of motion. No one thought this small device would be the initial beginnings for the animation world to come. As a matter a fact, in present day beginning animation classes, the Zoetrope is still being used to illustrate early concepts of animation.

1877The praxinoscope , invented by French scientist Charles-Émile Reynaud, was a more sophisticated version of the zoetrope. It used the same basic mechanism of a strip of images placed on the inside of a spinning cylinder, but instead of viewing it through slits, it was viewed in a series of stationary mirrors around the inside of the cylinder, so that the animation would stay in place, and also provided a clearer image. Reynaud also developed a larger version of the praxinoscope that could be projected onto a screen, called the Theater Optique.

1832In 1832 Joseph A.F. Plateau in Ghent, Belgium, and Simon Ritter von Stampfer in Vienna, Austria, independently discovered the same method for creating the illusion of motion from a series of still pictures. They used a flat disk perforated with a number of evenly spaced slots. Around the rim of the disk on one side were an equal number of hand-drawn figures representing successive phases of movement. While holding the device with the figures facing a mirror, the viewer spun the disk and looked through the slots—and the figures reflected in the mirror appeared to move. Plateau's device, the phenakistoscope, and Stampfer's, the stroboscope, led to the invention of more elaborate devices using the same principle, such as the zoetrope. Such optical “toys” became popular in 19th-century homes.



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