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The first film ever made

Updated on January 28, 2013

The first ever film

This hub takes a look at the birth of film and tries to answer the question - what was the first film ever made?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it might seem and it depends upon one's definition of a film? If you consider a set of moving photographs to be film then the honor would fall to a photographer named Eadweard Muybridge who in 1878 put together a set of high speed photographs of a galloping horse. However if we think of film as something more complex, it was not until 1895 that Frenchman Louis Lumiere projected a series of motion pictures for an audience.

So while it is difficult to give an exact answer on what was the first film, we can at least take a look at some of the contenders.

A Horse in Motion - Eadweard Muybridge (1978)

Eadweard Muybridge was an English photographer important for his pioneering work in photographic studies of motion. In 1972 Muybridge was contacted by the then governor of California Leland Stanford to settle a question.

The question was whether there was a point in a horse’s full gallop where all Four hooves were off the ground.

Muybridge arranged twelve cameras along the side of a racing track with strings attached to the cameras and switches across the track. When the horse ran through the string, it triggered the shot. Muybridge showed that it was true that all four of the Horses hooves did leave the ground when the horse is in full gallop.

Muybridge went on to pioneer early systems and techniques to photograph motion of people and animal and his works were displayed at several universities including the Royal Institute in London

The RoundHay Garden Scene - Louis Le Prince (1888)

According to the Guinness Book of Records it was this entry in 1888 that was the first and earliest film made in existence. The Roundhay Garden Scene was filmed by French Inventor Louis Le Prince who shot the first moving pictures on paper film using a single lens camera. He has been heralded as the "Father of Cinematography" since 1930. Le Prince filmed the scene at Leeds Bridge using a paper base photographic film through a projector.

W.K.L. Dickson and William Heise - Monkeyshines No. 1 (1889)

MonkeyShines No 1 may well be the first film ever shot on a continuous strip of film. It was the first film ever made in the USA. The film was made by W.K.L. Dickson and William Heise who were working for Thomas Edison. MonkeyShines was a film made to test the original cylinder format of the Kinetoscope which was possibly the first motion picture exhibition device.

So what was the first film ever made? That is for you to decide, the answer is far from straightforward.


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  • Theeyeballkid profile image

    Theeyeballkid 5 years ago

    Thanks for reading dailytop10.

  • dailytop10 profile image

    dailytop10 5 years ago from Davao City

    Nothing beats the classic. Thank you for sharing!

  • Theeyeballkid profile image

    Theeyeballkid 5 years ago

    Thanks Geekdom, yes the films are quite fixating aren't they.

  • Geekdom profile image

    Geekdom 5 years ago

    Fascinating Hub! Interesting +

    I especially enjoyed watching the attached YouTube Clips.