114 Lumière shorts now on Amazon Prime

It’s been more than 20 years since we’ve seen a home video release of the inventors of cinema, Auguste and Louis Lumière. Their catalogue was produced between 1895 and 1905, so what could have changed in the past 20 years? In 2015, the Institut Lumière led an effort to release many of their films through new 4K scans (nearly 4 times the detail of Blu-ray, and 24 times the detail of DVD), now that the technology is more affordable. The fruits of their effort has finally come to Amazon Prime streaming (in 1080p), with English subtitles for the commentary. Simply entitled Lumière!

Baby’s Tea Time (Louis Lumière on left)
Read more 114 Lumière shorts now on Amazon Prime

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1908-1917

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of cinema history. This is Part III of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1908-1917

1908 to 1917 was a decade of major change in the film business. Here are a few highlights:

American cinema saw an expansion out of New Jersey and New York, into Jacksonville, Florida, for warmer weather; it then took hold in Hollywood, California, between 1909 and 1915. “One-reeler” films (1000ft in length, or about 10 to 12 minutes of runtime) gave way to feature-length epics, tinted with different colors to match the mood of each scene. Intertitles containing lines of dialogue began to be used consistently from 1908 onward. Studio cameras became more portable, and 35mm film was accepted as an industry standard.

The “star system” began in 1909, emphasizing actors over plot lines to promote films. African-American movie makers entered the market, as well as more women directors. Film-making also began to take hold in Russia, India, and Latin America. 1917 marks the beginning of the Classical Hollywood era with films characterized by a formulaic narrative and style, particularly through major film studios like Universal and Paramount. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1908-1917

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1898-1907

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of early cinema. This is Part II of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1898-1907

The ten years here in Part II continue what Tom Gunning referred to as a “cinema of attractions”[1], where directors were focused on providing a spectacle (of effects or places around the world) for the viewer, in contrast to telling a unique story with character development and cultural criticism (which became more common as film length increased, around 1906). The merging of vaudeville theaters and Nickelodeons from 1905 to around 1912 brought movies to the masses – in Part III, we’ll see the adoption of the movie “star system,” the feature film business, African American movie makers, and more women directors. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1898-1907

Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

10 Years 10 Films (10Y10F) is a project to display embedded YouTube selections of world cinema. This is part one of a series that gives the viewer a quick time-lapse view of how movie technology and style has developed throughout the world – one clip each year – from 1888 through 2017, starting with the foundations to see how filmmakers build upon or deconstruct them.

World cinema 1888-1897

1888 is a somewhat arbitrary year to begin this series, but it evens out the decades to finish up 130 years later. Since there was no reliable way to project movies until 1896, most of this post is considered “pre-cinema.” 1896 was also the year that movies were shown outside of Europe and the United States, so as more people used the new medium, it developed (no pun intended) more quickly. Perhaps too quickly, as filmmakers didn’t take the time to preserve what they had created; Martin Scorcese’s Film Foundation has estimated that half of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of films made before 1929 are lost. The ones that remain are a gift that allows us to go back in time. Read more Video clips and history of world cinema: 1888-1897

Exploring the history of home video and music media

I may need help (honestly). Anyone want to go on this data quest with me?

It wasn’t until November, when Led Zeppelin offered their new concert film (Celebration Day) on Blu-ray, that I asked myself, “Is it finally time to stop buying DVDs?” So I began to dig into the history of home video formats, and decided it would be fun to build a timeline (presented here) of both music and film media over the past 135 years.

Timeline of music and movie media types

This timeline screenshot (in Excel) is a very crude draft of what I’m aiming for. The quest is purely for my own interest, but if anyone else has good data, infographics, books, and links to share on the topic, I’d love to hear from you.

I’m sure I’m biting off more than I can chew, but I’m also interested in what the timeline implies for issues about copyright and the changing face of information exchange and media consumption in general.