The Godfathers of Film: Thomas Edison and William Dickson

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This installment of The Godfathers of Film briefly traces the origins of the 35 mm film, inarguably the best known and most commonly used film format to this day. Learn more about the early days of 35 mm films and the brilliant minds behind them after the jump!

A 35 mm slide film reel. Photo via Stargate Cinema.

Tracing the origins of 35 mm film brings us back to the days of renowned inventor Thomas Edison and his early motion picture device, the Kinetoscope.

In the late 1880’s, George Eastman finally perfected the first flexible films, made by coating dry-gelatino-bromide emulsion over clear nitrocellulose film base. As soon as flexible film became available, Edison quickly developed the kinetoscope, a device which utilized a film loop system designed for one-person viewing.

Edison obtained his films first from Eastman in 1892, then from Blair Camera Co. in New York beginning in 1893. The film stock supplied to Edison were initially sized 40 mm, which the inventor and his assistant, William Dickson, would trim to 34.925 mm film strips before adding the perforations. Later, in 1894 or 1895, Blair started supplying Edison with film stock that was cut to this specification. And so, the 35 mm film was born.

While this film stock innovation set the motion for cinema and filmmaking, 35 mm film eventually became the standard for still photography, and continues to be used widely to this day.

Stay tuned for the next installment to learn more interesting tidbits about different film formats!

All information for this article were taken from 35 mm on Wikipedia, Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineer, and 35 mm Camera History on Buzzle.

written by plasticpopsicle on 2012-05-14 #lifestyle #history #35mm-film #lomography #analogue-lifestyle #thomas-edison #filmmaking #the-godfathers-of-film #william-dickson #35-mm-film-format #still-photography

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