A Sneak Peek Into the Roots of 35mm Movie Making


In honor of the LomoKino – the new amazing 35mm movie camera from Lomography, we thought it would be nice to step back and trace how 35mm movie making began. It has an interesting history involving a handful of inventors, Eastman-produced film stock and a strange disappearance …

A screenshot from Louis Le Prince’s first celluloid film, “Roundhay Garden Scene”

Louis Le Prince, The Forgotten Analogue Hero

Many historians considered Louis Le Prince as the true inventor of motion picture film – a Frenchman who used paper filmstrips using a single lens camera to create the world’s very first short films. However, his career as an inventor was short-lived when he mysteriously disappeared in 1890. It also did not help that other inventors – namely Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson, were busy tinkering with similar technology at the time, eventually earning the credit as being the first to create motion pictures. All three inventors used film stock produced by George Eastman, founder of the Eastman-Kodak Company.

Watch the Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888) by Louis Le Prince:

It’s the second of Le Prince’s 3 short films, filmed from a building window at Bridge End, south-east corner of Leeds Bridge. A commemorative plaque has been placed to honor this important location, where Le Prince purchased the materials to construct his camera – the single lens camera that he developed to create his motion pictures.

Le Prince was supposed to go to New York to demonstrate his motion pictures when he suddenly vanished. While the case was never solved and speculations included suicide and murder-for-money, a photograph of a drowning victim (from 1890) that resembled the inventor emerged in 2003, during a research in Paris police archives.

The Dudes Who Got the Credit

Meanwhile in the US, Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson were also busy toying with motion picture technology. The plan was to create two devices: one for recording movement on film, and the other for viewing it. Edison was in charge of the research and for the use of his laboratories, while Dickson was responsible for the creative process and development. It was Dickson who crafted the Kinetograph – a motor-powered camera devised to photograph motion pictures. Later on, Dickson designed the Kinetoscope – a movie-picture projector which gained popularity in carnivals, amusement parks and Kinetoscope parlors.

Watch the “Kinetophone” testing – “the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization.” (via)

Here is Dickson’s Monkeyshines No.1, the first motion picture recorded on photographic film in the U.S.

The King of Convenience: 35mm Film

The 35mm film remains the easiest choice for still photography and motion pictures. Over the years, it has proven its versatility – enhanced to include sound, tweaked to capture colors and redesigned for a safer film base. It’s the only motion picture format that can be played in almost any movie theater around the world. In still photography, 35mm film can be conveniently processed in most film labs.

Photo by: escudero, ccwu, larahacefotos, pietrone and lawypop

Lomography and 35mm Movie-Making

We’ve been telling you again and again – the future is analogue! This is why Lomography is constantly expanding its lineup to make sure that you’ll never have any reasons or excuses to stop shooting film. Our collection of analogue products – cameras, films and accessories – is regularly updated to keep you creative. Now with the launch of LomoKino you can weave 35mm Lomographic magic in movie format. Have a look at the creative possibilities that you can do with it!

Start creating movies with the LomoKino. Get it at the Shop
More details? Visit the LomoKino microsite!

Bringing analogue back to the movies with a bang in the 21st century, the LomoKino is a Lomography movie camera that shoots spectacular, creative movies on all kinds of 35mm film. Head to the Microsite, watch some Movies and begin your analogue movie-making journey today!

written by shhquiet on 2011-11-04 #news #history #film #35mm #movie-making #inventors #george-eastman #louis-le-prince #thomas-edison #william-kennedy-dickson #lomokino #lomokino-launch #magic-of-cinema


  1. poochfan
    poochfan ·

    Imagine 35mm sound film!

  2. larahacefotos
    larahacefotos ·

    hey!!!! one of my photographs!!!!!!! :)

  3. bingbing
    bingbing ·

    there's a horror movie called "VHS" that very quickly mentions Louis Le Prince and shows his very first very short video. in which the still photo is shown above. just saying. :]

  4. elenakulikova
    elenakulikova ·

    My first Lomokino Movie! Do you like it? Please leave comments & let me know what you think :) www.lomography.com/homes/elenakulikova/movies/1949-symbiosi…

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