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PRACTICAL CINEMATOGRAPHY AND ITS
APPLICATIONS***


E-text prepared by Chris Curnow, Paul Mitchell, and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made
available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org)







Transcriber's note:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

Page 151 Illustration Fig 9 contains an alphabetical list
of components with "F" designating "Clock" and small "F"
designating "Film". This latter designation for "Film"
has been indicated in the text by "=F=".





PRACTICAL CINEMATOGRAPHY AND ITS APPLICATIONS


* * * * *

_BY THE SAME AUTHOR._

Price 6_s._ net each.

MOVING PICTURES: HOW THEY
ARE MADE AND WORKED.

LIGHTSHIPS AND LIGHTHOUSES.

THE STEAMSHIP CONQUEST OF
THE WORLD.

THE RAILWAY CONQUEST OF
THE WORLD.


LONDON: WILLIAM HEINEMANN.

* * * * *


[Illustration:

_By permission of the Motograph Co._

HOW TO TAKE MOVING-PICTURES OF WILD ANIMALS IN SAFETY.

Messrs. Newman built a huge dummy cow fifteen feet in height of
papier-mâché. The operator stands inside with his camera and the
pictures are taken through a small hinged door. With this "property"
dangerous animals can be approached closely.]


PRACTICAL CINEMATOGRAPHY AND ITS APPLICATIONS

by

FREDERICK A. TALBOT

Author of "Moving Pictures" etc.







[Illustration]

London MCMXIII
William Heinemann

Copyright.




PREFACE


This volume has been written with the express purpose of assisting the
amateur - the term is used in its broadest sense as a distinction from
the salaried, attached professional worker - who is attracted towards
cinematography. It is not a technical treatise, but is written in such
a manner as to enable the tyro to grasp the fundamental principles of
the art, and the apparatus employed in its many varied applications.

While it is assumed that the reader has practised ordinary snap-shot
and still-life work, and thus is familiar with the elements of
photography, yet the subject is set forth in such a manner as to enable
one who never has attempted photography to take moving-pictures.

At the same time it is hoped that the volume may prove of use to the
expert hand, by introducing him to what may be described as the higher
branches of the craft. The suggestions and descriptions concerning
these applications may prove of value to any who may be tempted to
labour in one or other of the various fields mentioned.

In the preparation of this volume I have received valuable assistance
from several friends who have been associated intimately with the
cinematographic art from its earliest days: - J. Bamberger, Esq.,
of the Motograph Company, Limited, James Williamson, Esq., of the
Williamson Kinematograph Company, Limited, Kodak Limited, Messrs. Jury,
Limited, and Monsieur Lucien Bull, the assistant-director of the Marey
Institute, to whom I am especially indebted for facilities to visit
that unique institution, and the investigation at first hand of its
varied work, the loan of the photographs of the many experiments which
have been, and still are being, conducted at the French "Cradle of
Cinematography," and considerable assistance in the preparation of the
text.

FREDERICK A. TALBOT.




CONTENTS


CHAP. PAGE

I. ATTRACTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE ART 1
II. THE PRINCIPLES OF CINEMATOGRAPHY 13
III. THE MOVING-PICTURE CAMERA AND ITS MECHANISM 21
IV. THE CAMERA AND HOW TO USE IT 35
V. HAND CAMERA CINEMATOGRAPHY 51
VI. DEVELOPING THE FILM 62
VII. PRINTING THE POSITIVE 79
VIII. ABERRATIONS OF ANIMATED PHOTOGRAPHY 94
IX. SLOWING-DOWN RAPID MOVEMENTS 108
X. SPEEDING-UP SLOW MOVEMENTS 124
XI. CONTINUOUS CINEMATOGRAPHIC RECORDS 135
XII. RADIO-CINEMATOGRAPHY: HOW THE X-RAYS ARE USED IN
CONJUNCTION WITH THE MOVING-PICTURE CAMERA 147
XIII. COMBINING THE MICROSCOPE AND THE ULTRA-MICROSCOPE
WITH THE MOVING-PICTURE CAMERA 161
XIV. MICRO-MOTION STUDY: HOW INCREASED WORKSHOP EFFICIENCY
IS OBTAINABLE WITH MOVING-PICTURES 174
XV. THE MOTION PICTURE AS AN AID TO SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION 185
XVI. THE MILITARY VALUE OF THE CINEMATOGRAPH 197
XVII. THE PREPARATION OF EDUCATIONAL FILMS 209
XVIII. PHOTO-PLAYS AND HOW TO WRITE THEM 224
XIX. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN STAGE PRODUCTIONS 238
XX. WHY NOT NATIONAL CINEMATOGRAPH LABORATORIES? 248

INDEX 259




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FACING
PAGE

How to take Moving-pictures of Wild Animals in safety
_Frontispiece_
A Moving-picture Expedition into the Indian Jungle 4
Polar Bear Diving 5
A Lion and Lioness at Lunch 10
Caught! 11
Operator and Camera buried in a Hole 14
Making Moving-pictures of Wild Rabbits 14
Nest of King Regulus, showing curious Suspension 15
Mother King Regulus feeding her Young 15
The Jury Moving-picture Camera 24
The Williamson Topical Camera and Tripod 25
The Williamson Camera threaded for Use 42
Lens of the Williamson Camera 43
Adjustable Shutter of the Jury Camera 43
The "Aeroscope" Moving-picture Hand Camera 52
Compressed Air Reservoirs of the "Aeroscope" Camera 53
Lens, Shutter, Mechanism and Gyroscope 56
Loading the "Aeroscope" Camera 57
Mr. Cherry Kearton steadying himself upon a Precipice 58
Mr. Cherry Kearton slung over a Cliff 58
Vulture preparing to Fly 59
A Well-equipped Dark Room showing Arrangement of the Trays 64
Winding the Developing Frame 65
Film transferred from Developing Frame to Drying Drum 72
Film Wound on Frame and placed in Developing Tray 73
The Jury Combined Camera and Printer 73
The Williamson Printer 84
Water Beetle attacking a Worm 85
Marey's Apparatus for taking Rapid Movements 112
Cinematographing the Beat of a Pigeon's Wing 113
First Marey Apparatus for Cinematographing the Opening of a
Flower 128
First Motion Pictures of an Opening Flower 129
Development of a Colony of Marine Organisms 129
Continuous Moving-picture Records of Heart-beats 136
Continuous Moving-pictures of Heart-beats of an Excited Person 137
Continuous Cinematography - Palpitations of a Rabbit's Heart 142
Stero-motion Orbit of a Machinist's Hand 143
Lines of Light indicating to-and-fro hand Movements 143
A wonderful X-ray Film made by M. J. Carvallo 148
Moving X-ray Pictures of the Digestion of a Fowl 149
Stomach and Intestine of a Trout 152
Digestive Organs of the Frog 152
Lizard Digesting its Food 152
X-ray Moving-pictures of the Bending of the Knee 153
X-ray Film of the Opening of the Hand 153
Micro-Cinematograph used at Marey Institute for investigating
minute Aquatic Life 164
Micro-cinematography: The Proboscis of the Blow Fly 165
Micro-cinematograph used at the Marey Institute 170
One of Dr. Comandon's Galvanic Experiments with Paramoecia 171
Micro-cinematography: Blow Fly eating Honey 176
The Ingenious Gilbreth Clock 177
Rack, showing Disposition of Component Parts, for Test 177
Film of Workman assembling Machine 182
Film of Rack and Bench, Floor marked off into Squares, and
Clock 182
Cinematographing a Man's Work against Time 183
Moving-pictures of a Steam Hammer Ram 188
Dr. Füch's Apparatus for taking Moving-pictures of the
Operations of a Steam Hammer 189
Wonderful Apparatus devised by Mr. Lucien Bull for taking
2,000 Pictures per second 190
Moving-pictures of the Ejection of a Cartridge from an
Automatic Pistol 191
Motion Photographs of the Splintering of a Bone by a Bullet 191
Soldiers Firing at the "Life Target" 204
Front View of the "Life Target" showing Screen Opening 205
Screen Mechanism of the "Life Target" 206
Cinematographing Hedge-row Life under Difficulties 207
Moorhen Sitting on her Nest 212
The Young Chick pierces the Shell 212
Chick Emerging from the Shell 213
Newly Hatched Chick struggling to its Feet 213
Chick, Exhausted by its Struggles, Rests in the Sun 214
The Chick takes to the Water 214
Fight between a Lobster and an Octopus 215
Story of the Water Snail 215
The Head of the Tortoise 218
The Hawk Moth 218
Snake Shedding its Skin or "Slough" 219
The Snake and its Shed Slough 219
Exterior View of Dummy Cow 226
Mr. Frank Newman and Camera hidden within Tree Trunk 227
Lizard with Spider in its Mouth 240
Digestive Organs and Eggs of a Water Flea 241
Moving-picture Naturalist and the Lizard at Home 241
A Novel "Hide," with Camera Fifteen Feet above Ground 250
"Hide" Uncovered showing Working Platform 251


IN TEXT

FIG. PAGE

1. Mechanism of Camera showing Threading of Film 28
2. The "Pin" Frame 67
3. The First Picture of the Four-spoke Wheel 97
4. Apparent Stillness of Spokes while Wheel is Moving 98
5. Apparent Backward Motion of Spokes while Wheel is
Running Forwards 99
6. When Wheel is seen to be Moving Naturally 100
7. Curious Illusion of seeing Twice the Number of Spokes
in the Wheel 102
8. Mechanism of the Noguès Camera 115
9. The Ingenious Radio-cinematographic Apparatus devised
by Monsieur M. J. Carvallo 151
10. Dr. Comandon's Radio-cinematographic Apparatus 157




PRACTICAL CINEMATOGRAPHY




CHAPTER I

ATTRACTIONS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THE ART


Profit and pleasure combine to win recruits for the art of animated
photography. As an entertainment offered to the public, the
moving-pictures have had no rival. Their popularity has been remarkable
and universal. It increases daily, and, since we are only now beginning
to see the magnitude of what the cinematograph can effect, it is not
likely to diminish. This development has stirred the ambition of the
amateur or independent photographer because the field is so vast,
fertile, and promising. Remunerative reward is obtainable practically
in every phase of endeavour so long as the elements of novelty or
originality are manifest. The result is that it is attracting one and
all. Animated photography can convey so fascinating and convincing a
record of scenes and events that many persons - sportsmen, explorers,
and travellers - make use of it.

From the commercial point of view the issue is one of magnetic
importance. In all quarters there is an increasing demand for films of
prominent topical interest, either of general or local significance.
The proprietors of picture palaces have discovered that no films draw
better audiences than these. If they deal with a prominent incident
like a visit of royalty to the neighbourhood, an important sporting
event, a public ceremony, or even, such is human nature, with some
disaster to life or property, they will make a stronger appeal for a
few days than the general film fare offered at the theatre, because the
episode which is uppermost in the mind of the public is what draws and
compels public attention. Even, it would seem, when the reality itself
has just been witnessed by the audience, its photographic reproduction
proves more attractive than all else.

The picture palace, indeed, is assuming the functions of the
illustrated newspaper, and is governed by like laws. The more personal
and immediate the news, the more pleased are the beholders. So there
is an increasing effort to supply upon the screen in life and motion
what the papers are recording in print and illustration. One can almost
hear the phrase that will soon become general, "Animated news of the
moment." Already the French are showing us the way. In Paris one is
able to visit a picture palace for 25 centimes at any time between
noon and midnight and see, upon the screen, the events of the hour
in photographic action. As fresh items of news, or, rather, fresh
sections of film, are received, they are thrown upon the screen in the
pictorial equivalent of the paragraphs in the stop press column of the
newspapers, earlier items of less interest being condensed or expunged
in the true journalistic manner to allow the latest photographic
intelligence to be given in a length consistent with its importance.

It is obvious that this branch of the business must fall largely into
the hands of the unattached or independent worker, who bears the
same relation to the picture palace as the outside correspondent to
the newspaper. A firm engaged in supplying topical films cannot hope
to succeed without amateur assistance. No matter how carefully and
widely it distributes its salaried photographers, numberless events
of interest are constantly happening - shipwrecks, accidents, fires,
sensational discoveries, movements of prominent persons, and the like,
at places beyond the reach of the retained cinematographer. For film
intelligence of these incidents the firm must rely upon the independent
worker.

Curiously enough, in many cases, the amateur not only executes his
work better than his salaried rival, but often outclasses him in the
very important respect that he is more enterprising. Acting on his
own responsibility, he knows that by smartness alone can he make way
against professionals. Only by being the first to seize a chance can
he find a market for his wares. Thus when Blériot crossed the English
Channel in his aeroplane it was the camera of an amateur that caught
the record of his flight for the picture palaces, although a corps of
professionals was on the spot for the purpose. True, the successful
film showed many defects. But defects matter little compared with
the importance of getting the picture first or exclusively. Similar
cases exist in plenty. The amateur has an excellent chance against the
professional. His remuneration, too, is on a generous scale. The market
is so wide and the competition is so keen, especially in London, which
is the world's centre of the cinematograph industry, that the possessor
of a unique film can dictate his own terms and secure returns often
twenty times as great as the prime cost of the film he has used.

[Illustration:

_By permission of the Motograph Co._

A MOVING-PICTURE EXPEDITION INTO THE INDIAN JUNGLE.

Mr. Cherry Kearton, the famous cinematographer of wild animals, and his
outfit loaded upon an elephant.]

[Illustration:

_By permission of the Motograph Co._

POLAR BEAR DIVING. A STRIKING MOTION-PICTURE.]

The market is open also to travellers, explorers, and sportsmen. These,
with a cinematograph camera and a few thousand feet of film, can
recompense themselves so well that the entire cost of an expedition
may be defrayed. An Austrian sportsman who roamed and hunted in the
North Polar ice fields received over £6,000 ($30,000) for the films he
brought back with him. Mr. Cherry Kearton, who took pictures of wild
life in various parts of the world, sold his negatives for £10,000 or
$50,000.

Scientific investigators are in the same happy case. When their
researches lead them to anything that has an element of popular appeal,
there is profit awaiting them at the picture palace. The life of the
ant, for instance, or electrical experiments, or interesting phases of
chemistry, and many other features of organic and inorganic science,
yield good returns to the scientist with a camera. Such films will
command 20_s._ ($5) or more per foot of negative.

There is another branch of the work already well established. The
producer of picture plays, if his plot be tolerably good and the scenes
well acted and well photographed, and if the play itself promises
some popular success, can command a good price. At the moment there
are several independent producers at work throughout the world. They
have a large open market for the disposal of their wares and find no
difficulty whatever in selling all they can produce. Even the largest
producers, who have huge theatres and command the services of expert
scenario writers and players, do not hesitate to purchase from outside
sources.

A cinematograph camera, and a little luck, will make anyone's holiday
profitable. The travelling amateur penetrates into places overlooked
by the professional, and usually takes greater pains with his work.
Afterwards he finds his market in the fact that the demand for travel
pictures is so great that a good film of 300 feet will fetch £40
($200) and upwards. At home he may exploit his ingenuity in making
trick films, a most popular feature at the picture palaces, so long as
he keeps novelty to the forefront. Trick films, unfortunately, take
so long to prepare and demand such care, skill and patience that the
largest firms of producers as a rule are not eager to attempt them,
because their production disorganises the more regular and profitable
work of the studio. A good trick film of 800 feet may occupy six
months in preparation. But the amateur may approach what the large
firm fears. To him time is no object, and he is able to maintain his
interest, care, and ingenuity to the end of the quest. On the other
hand the professional worker often tires of his trick subject before
the task is half completed, with the result that novelty and care are
not sustained. One industrious Frenchman devoted nearly a year to
the preparation of a film in which resort had to be made to every
conceivable form of trickery, and sold his product for £3,000 or
$15,000. He also refused an offer of £5,000 ($25,000) for another film
of pictures calculated to please children.

To sum up, the amateur or independent cinematographer has a vast field
available for the profitable exercise of his skill. Except in regard to
the topical work, which is of the rush-and-hustle order, he must show
imagination in his choice of subject and craftsmanship in the execution
of his work. He must, that is to say, be trained so far as to be no
longer an amateur in the popular meaning of the word. He must learn
aptitude in the school of experience. The reward is well worth the
trouble.

Hitherto the amateur worker has been held back by the great expense of
the necessary apparatus. The camera cost £50 ($250), and the developing
and printing operations were generally supposed to be too difficult
and costly for private undertaking. There was some excuse for these
notions. The trade at first followed narrow lines, no welcome being
held out to the amateur competitor. But circumstances have been too
strong for this trade, as for others, and it burst its bonds in due
time. The co-operation of the independent worker became essential
as the demands of the market increased. In the production of plays,
for instance, England at first led the way. But the American and
French producers came quickly to the fore. The English pioneers,
not being skilled in the mysteries of stage craft, wisely retired
from the producing field upon the entrance of the expert from the
legitimate theatre, who realised that the moving-picture field offered
him increased opportunities for his knowledge and activity as well
as bringing him more profitable financial returns for his labours.
The British fathers of the industry devoted their energies to the
manufacture of cinematographic apparatus, as they foresaw that sooner
or later the amateur and independent worker must enter the industry.
The activity of amateurs was needed by the English trade as a whole,
and the manufacturer, with great enterprise, brought down the cost of
apparatus to a very reasonable level. This has been effected by methods
not less advantageous to the purchaser than is the reduction of the
price - by standardisation of parts and simplification of mechanism.

To-day a reliable camera for living pictures, suitable for topical
and other light work, can be bought for £5 or $25. A more expensive
camera, the Williamson, costs £10 10_s._ ($52), and is actually as
good as other machines priced at four or five times that sum. On the
other hand, so much as £150 ($750) can be paid. But the camera sold for
this large sum demands a purchaser with something more than a long
purse. It demands special knowledge. Designed for studio work, it has
peculiarities that are difficult to master and is not to be recommended
to a beginner.

With the cost of the camera the cost of other apparatus has fallen
in proportion. It was realised that the amateur's dark room and
other facilities are likely to be less excellent than those of
the professional and that he must be provided with compensating
conveniences. This problem has been solved. A complete developing
outfit can now be packed in a hand-bag, and a camera and printing
outfit can be carried in a knapsack no larger than is required for
the whole-plate camera of the old "still-life" photographer. Simple
and efficient appliances for the dark room can be purchased very
cheaply. There is a portable outfit for use in field work, where it is
imperative that films should be developed as soon as possible after
exposure, and this outfit is now used by the majority of travellers
and field workers, such as Cherry Kearton, Paul Rainey, and others.
Distinct advantage, it may be observed, comes from prompt developing.
There may be vexatious delay, occasionally, but the photographer is at
least able to tell quickly whether his film is a success or a failure.
It is better to gain this knowledge on the spot, even compulsorily,
where another record can be taken, than to gain it later a few


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Online LibraryFrederick Arthur Ambrose TalbotPractical cinematography and its applications → online text (page 1 of 15)