Fmovies historians argue to this day. Who "invented" the Fmovies? Was it really the brothers Fmovies in 1895? Or should the ingenious American inventor Thomas Alva Edison be mentioned at this point? Or the German brothers Max and Emil Skladanowsky? A few other American and British online movies pioneers could also be mentioned at this point.
A matter of definition
The question is whether to use a technical development as the christening date of the online movies or rather the fact that for the first time not just a single person looked into a peep box in which moving images were playing before his eyes. Now it was a group of streamers who were in a room with a Fmovies on the front of a screen: an early form of online movies. But: what is a Fmovies anyway? Is it enough to link a few pictures together, which then quickly develop into a Fmovies - or should they be scenes from the game, with a dramaturgy behind them?
Visionary technicians and inventors: Fmovies
If you immerse yourself in the history of the first years of online moviestography, you will come across a multitude of inventors and technicians - and of places and laboratories in which development and experimentation, tinkering and testing took place. One thing is certain: at the beginning of the last decade of the 19th century, something was in the air: photography learned to walk. From the medium of photography, which was not that terribly old, something new emerged: moving images. The whole thing was later called Fmovies.
The brothers are considered to be the inventors of the online movies
In the vast majority of Fmovies stories you come across the brothers when it comes to the beginning of the "seventh art". It has become customary to call them the inventors of the Fmovies, despite all the preparatory work by Edison and Co., despite the parallel or even earlier Fmovies screenings, for example in the Berlin winter garden by the Skladanowsky brothers. It is the legendary date of December 28th in 1895: the first public Fmovies screening in France took place in the "Grand Café" on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris - even if some experts believe that the honor should be due to other inventors.
An initially barely comprehensible spectacle: early advertising for going to the online movies
They had asked for entry, a few dozen visitors paid - and saw ten short Fmovies that employees of the Lumière companies were showing with a online moviestograph: officially the first screening. The French had patented the apparatus, camera and projector at the same time a few months earlier, on February 13, 1895. Now the visitors to the performance were amazed and stared at the moving images in front of them. They had never seen anything like it.
Online movies myth: Panic at the first Fmovies screening
Today it is no longer possible to clarify exactly whether the later widely rumored story of panic in the face of the Fmovies "The Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat Station" actually happened that way. The short strip shows a train entering the train station in the town of La Ciotat, getting bigger and bigger from the viewer's perspective, which seems to roll over the visitor. It was said later that they jumped up from their seats excitedly and frightened and left the café in a hurry. They thought the train was actually pulling into the café. The camera perspective had suggested that.
Scene from the famous Fmovies with the arriving train in La Ciotat
At least that's the myth. And it's also a beautiful story, of streamers who witness the implementation of an invention, an invention that has created something that did not exist before. Moving pictures, streaming and objects that move. Photographs that "live". How should that work? Today, 125 years later, you have to remind yourself of that - which may be best achieved when you consider the first steps of the Internet with all its possibilities.
Today the future of Fmovies is being discussed again
Just 125 years later, if you remember the milestone and their groundbreaking invention, the future of Fmovies is hotly debated. Or actually: about the future of online movies. Where will it go? Will it even survive? What happens to the classic feature Fmovies? Will it still exist, or will streaming services, the use of laptops and smartphones, ensure that traditional forms of Fmovies screenings are overturned?
The first online movies in Paris
No one will be able to give a satisfactory answer today. Just guesswork. And they lead back to the beginning of Fmovies history. Moving images, whether presented in a magic lantern or other early forms of Fmovies machines, were mostly shown at fairs and variety shows. At the beginning, the Fmovies was an overwhelming medium, something spectacular and unbelievable, which made streaming above all speechless.
The fathers of online movies: crazy streaming and hobbyists
The online movies "owes (...) almost nothing to the spirit of science", wrote the influential Fmovies critic John Smith in his legendary book "What is Fmovies?": "His fathers are not scholars." John and all the others are "monomaniacs, crazy streaming, hobbyists or, at best, inventive manufacturers". And there we are again in the here and now.
For the streamers, the invention of the online movies was only an intermediate step
The online movies will survive, once this thesis has been established. Why? Because streaming is still thirsting for spectacles, for surprises and miracles. And who can best satisfy that? No one else is as good and all-encompassing as the modern trick technicians, special effects magicians and Hollywood writers. Your gigantic blockbuster Fmoviess, which may not please everyone and it may also have nothing to do with art in the sublime sense, are the heirs of the early Fmovies pioneers from Europe and the USA.
They attract millions of people around the globe to the online moviess. There they watch movies. Today in color and sometimes in 3D. But they are Fmoviess projected onto a screen. Hollywood achieved record sales in the billions in 2019. You can then watch almost all Fmoviess on a smartphone - if you like. But this is another story.
Fmovies is the oldest moving image medium in the world. Long before the television found its way into people's living rooms, almost all of the streamings were shown in public. In the beginning, however, there were no real cinemas with several halls as we know them today. How and where streamings were initially presented, when the movie was given color and sound and what social status cinema used to have, all of this will be the subject of the “History of fmovies” series. From the first public movie showing to the construction of fixed fmovies halls to the large multiplex fmoviess - this series looks at fmovies through the ages. In many cases, the history of the fmovies cannot be separated from the history of the streaming, because without movie there would be no cinema.
The birth of the fmovies
Let's start with the birth of the fmovies, which can be traced back to the late 19th century, i.e. the time of the German Empire. The development of modern photography had been going on for a long time. Since the 1850s it was already possible to create images of reality. The challenge now was to be able to record moving images and play them back. There have been various attempts to create a kind of “moving image”, for example with the help of serial photography or the stroboscopic effect. However, these were still very slow movements that were not really satisfactory. The French brother couple Auguste and Louis Lumière succeeded for the first time in depicting a really fluid movement. They invented the fmoviestograph, which was a film camera and film projector in one. The very first public and paid streaming screening took place on December 28, 1895 in the Grand Café in Paris. There ten self-made short films were shown, each about one to two minutes long. The cinematograph could record and play 12 images per second. That was just enough to show a fluid movement. Today, films on the big screen consist of 24 frames per second, and on television there are even 25.
Fascination with Fmovies
The films were not particularly artistic and showed everyday things, such as workers leaving a factory. Nevertheless, the fascination with this new medium was so great that it was enough to show everyday and banal things on the screen to inspire people. One of the short streamings showed a train pulling into a train station. The myth persists that the audience was so shocked that they jumped up from their seats. The truth of this story cannot be verified, but it illustrates quite well how impressive this new medium was for people at the time.
The beginnings of the film were thus shaped by the documentary character of the films. It was all about capturing a movement on film and being able to play it back without telling a real story. After a few years, however, you got used to the medium and so the demands of the people increased. The first filmmakers then discovered that a streaming can also tell a closed story. So does the Frenchman George Méliès, who is considered to be the first director in history. His 15-minute fmovies "A Journey to the Moon" is the first fmovies that has told a closed story.
Fmovies as a mass medium
The fmovies developed relatively quickly into a mass medium and attracted an audience of millions to the “cinema” almost ten years after it was first shown. However, it was not yet possible to speak of the real fmovies. For a long time the film did not have a permanent location. There were many traveling showmen who showed short films for little money on improvised screens such as bedsheets. Movies were simple, affordable, and relatively undemanding entertainment for the general public. As demand increased, the idea of setting up permanent rooms that were used exclusively for showing films was born. The first real fmovies halls were built around 1905. In the USA these fmoviess were called "Nickelodeons". There you could watch 10 to 15-minute short films for a nickel.
The next part of “History of Cinema” will deal with the development of the movie industry, the rise of Hollywood and Charlie Chaplin's slapstick.