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Movie Cameras History – Movie Equipment

One of the first motion-picture film cameras, was designed by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It still exists with the National Media Museum, England. Le Prince employed paper bands and celluloïd film from John Carbutt and or Blair & Eastman in 1¾ inch width.

On June 21 1889, William Friese-Greene was issued patent no. 10131 for his ‘chronophotographic’ camera. It was apparently capable of taking up to ten photographs per second using perforated celluloid film. A report on the camera was published in the British Photographic News on February 28 1890. On 18 March, Friese-Greene sent a clipping of the story [2] Friese-Greene gave a public demonstration in 1890 but the low frame rate combined with the device’s apparent unreliability failed to make an impression.

Georges Demenÿ, employee with Etienne Jules Marey, constructed the Beater Movement in 1893. The film width is 60 mm.

Max Skladanowsky conceived his own make of camera in 1894-95, but more interesting is his “Bioscop” projector, the first duplex construction in practice. Green, part designer for Prestwich, also designed a duplex projecting machine. This 1896 wide-film projector can be seen at the South Kensington Science Museum.

The Lumière Domitor camera was originated by Charles Moisson, chief mechanic of the Lumière works at Lyon in 1894. They shot on paper film of 35 millimeter width. In 1895 the Lumière could buy celluloïd film from New-York’s Celluloid Manufacturing Co. This they covered with their own Etiquette-bleue emulsion, had it cut into strips and perforated. It is not known which recipe they used for positives.

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Then an ever increasing number of cine cameras came up. The makes and brands would be: Birt Acres (1894-95), the Latham Eidoloscope by Lauste (1895), the Marvin & Casler Bioscope by Dickson (1895), Pathé frères (1896) with ratchet claws, Prestwich (1896), Newman & Guardia (1896), de Bedts, Gaumont-Démény (1896), Schneider, Schimpf, Akeley, Debrie, Bell & Howell, Leonard-Mitchell, Ertel, Ernemann, Eclair, Stachow, Universal, Institute, Wall, Lytax, and many others.
The first all-metal cine camera is the Bell & Howell Standard of 1911-12. One of the most complicated models is the Mitchell-Technicolor Beam Splitting Three-Strip Camera of 1932. With it, three colour separation originals are obtained behind a purple, a green, and a red light filter, the latter being part of one of the three different raw materials in use.

The most popular 35 mm cameras in use today are Arriflex, Moviecam (now owned by the Arri Group), and Panavision models. For very high speed filming, PhotoSonics are used.

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