Advancements in Visual Arts Technology

Photography and Cinematography Then

In 1822, Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce discovered that, when exposed to light, certain sensitive materials will form a latent image. For this reason, Niépce is considered the father of photography. Early cameras were little more that dark boxes with a small hole, allowing light to hit this primitive film. Requiring hour up hour of exposure, the resulting image consisted of starkly contrasted black and white images, slightly unfocused images. What most people don’t know is that experiments in color photography began a mere twenty years later.

Invented in 1888, Thomas Edison invented his kinetoscopes, which marked the birth of a now billion-dollar industry. Early films were only a few seconds long and could only be viewed by one person at a time, by peeping into a large box. Later Edison would attach one of his phonographs to these devices to allow for audio. Movies were filmed on relatively stationary cameras called kinetographs. The kinetograph took a series of photographs rapidly that, when played a high speed, looked like a continuous image.

Photography and Cinematography Now

Photographic equipment and the steps required for processing these images have changed greatly since the 1800s. Photos are mostly taken digitally now and the digital files can be printed at home. Long gone are the days of daguerreotypes, chemical laden paper exposed to mercury gas to seal the image. Equipment is now small and portable. Cameras have even become a standard feature on cellphones.

Much like their still image counterparts, movies have also gone digital. Movie cameras have also become smaller and more portable, some just the size of an SLR camera. Strangely enough, even as the technology in the cameras has advanced, 35mm film produced images with more vivid color and better depth of field. Despite the higher image quality, because of the ease and unlimited possibilities that digital media affords, more and more directors are making the switch.