Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Exiting the Factory (1895)

Also known as: Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon
Country: France
Director: Louis Lumière
Length: 46 seconds

Louis Lumière films his workers as they leave the Lumiere factory in Lyon, France. 

Significance/Notable Achievements:
Considered the first film ever made (though technically preceded by Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene in 1888). Filmed using one of the world's first all-in-one cameras - a Cinematographe - capable of filming, projecting, and developing, and shot in 35mm at 16 frames per second (800 frames). Screened by the Lumière Brothers for the public in Paris, along with nine other original films, on December 28, 1895. The entire show lasted twenty minutes.

This one is less about the story on the screen than the one behind it. These first moving pictures must have blown everyone's mind, not least of which the people who starred in them. Mundane as Exiting The Factory might seem by today's standards (though easy to sit through at under a minute), try to imagine the impact in a time when the only visual images most people had available were in frames on walls! 

Sure, a few fortunate souls had access to gadgets like the magic lantern, the Phenakistoscope, and Edison's Kinetoscope (look 'em up, they were pretty darned cool) that allowed them to watch simple images move. But at 16 frames per second on a screen as big as your house? 

I actually really enjoyed this one. I felt the excitement of the employees as they were becoming a part of history. It’s amazing to think about what this started! Having the dog and the man on his bike in the shots leaves me feeling that the director had a sense of humour about the imperfections in life, and didn’t require anything to be re-shot.

1 comment:

  1. Love this idea!

    Can't wait to keep reading more! Round 2 should be "reader submission" :-)