Cinematograph records 1st footage, March 19, 1895

-March 19, 2017

Auguste and Louis Lumière recorded their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph, a competing device to Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope, on March 19, 1895.

The film, La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon), was a 46-second-long, black-and-white, silent documentary. It is a single scene in which workers leave the factory.

The cinematograph was a motion picture film camera, which also served as a film projector and developer.

Unlike Edison’s kinetoscope, which had to be viewed by one person at a time through an eye hole (peephole), the cinematograph could be projected onto a screen to be viewed by a large audience of people simultaneously.

The cinematograph weighed 16 lbs and was manually operated by a hand crank, unlike Edison’s electrically powered camera that was similar to a piece of furniture and was not portable.

The cinematograph produced a sharper projected image than had previously been seen before. This was due to its design, which used a kind of fork held film reel, held in place through the perforations made on the sides of the film strip.

The cinematograph is sometimes associated with the dawn of a new age of film that replaced the pre-cinema era. It was enjoyed by all social classes, from nickelodeons to vaudeville to high society settings.

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Editor's note: This article was originally posted on March 19, 2013 and edited on March 19, 2017.

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