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History of Video Production

History of Video Production

History of Film Production
History of Video Production

Often a movie is released with such tense anticipation and glamorous visual arts which draws the public to the dramatic rendition of life in the theatres. For about two hours or so, video productions put us into a different lifestyle. It might be action, drama or comedy. However, very few know the history of video production. 

History of Video Production – In the Beginning

History of video production began with motion pictures which were based on the illusion of persistence of vision and the phi phenomenon. Earlier before photography was invented, optical toys were used. They were mounted on successive phase drawings to create the motion pictures. In 1839, a French Painter perfected the positive photographic process which was popularly known as daguerreotype. Consequently, on the same year, an English Scientist William Henry successfully demonstrated the negative photographic process which allowed positive prints to be produced from each negative.

However, with the innovation and development of photography, it was becoming easy to replace the phase drawings in the early optical toys and the devices with individual posed photographs. This was a practice that became very popular and was practiced mostly in the USA. 

The development of live action which could be photographed spontaneously and simultaneously led to true motion pictures. There was the minimization of the exposure time from an hour or so necessary for the photographic process in the year 1870. Between 1872 and 1877, there was the development of series technology by the British American photographer Muybridge. Marey on the other side invented the chronophotographic gun which was a camera shaped like a rifle that could record 12 successive photographs per second. Marey imprinted these images on a rotating glass plate and tried to protect them. 

In 1887 in Newark, New Jersey, a minister named Hannibal Goodwin came up with the idea of celluloid as a base for photographic emulsions. The inventor and industrialist George Eastman who had tried out his experiments with sensitized paper rolls for still photography started manufacturing celluloid roll film in the year 1889 at his plant in New York. This event was important in the development of cinematography and later for video production. With cinematography, it was possible to record long, complicated events which required thousands of images. It was flexible and also durable recording medium for production. It was crucial to combine the principles in the apparatuses of Muybridge and Marey with celluloid strip film in arriving at a viable motion-picture camera. A device meeting these principles was invented by Louis Le Prince in 1880s. He shot short films in Leeds, England in 1888. However, he was scheduled to show his work in New York City in 1890; he disappeared when traveling in France. 

 Video production was revolutionized in Thomas Edison’s laboratories in West Orange, New Jersey. This was after William Kennedy had devised a motion picture camera and a Kinetoscope. These devices allowed a single viewer to watch a short film via a peephole. This invention enjoyed a small period of profitability with consumers paying a nickel to enjoy the moving pictures. More success was achieved when projectors were developed making it possible to show a movie to more than one viewer at a time. Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat where first to invent a projector that was publicly exhibited in the US. Before the development of movie houses, production companies at that time would give out projectors and films to exhibitors. The employees of these companies would take the company’s equipment on the road showing films in empty storefronts and many other makeshift venues. Films for the first projector called vitascope were produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company. This was done in a crude black-painted shack which was called the “Black Maria”.

On the other hand, Biograph filmed its motion pictures on a movable outdoor stage with the help of a camera that would be moved back and forth on wheels. The filmmakers of Biograph and the Lumiere brothers enjoyed a competitive edge by producing travel and documentary films on location as well as to studio productions. The camera was very important since he or she was the chief creative intelligence behind every short film and besides was responsible for coming up with the subject matter, photography, printing, and editing. 

This system was good but was for low volume production. However, there were some developments in the first decade of the twentieth century which had expanded the market for motion pictures; there was still a need for an improved system — many movie companies were selling movies outright to independent exhibitors with the number of exhibitors increasing dramatically. For cost efficiency, film exhibitors had to have greater access to a great number of films that they were able to purchase. Harry and Herbert Miles solved this problem by coming up with the “motion picture exchange” in 1903 which bought a large stock of films that would rent them to the exhibitors. With other exchanges following and more films being exhibited, there was a proliferation of makeshift theaters which were popularly referred to the “nickelodeons.” They were equipped with seats, projectors and a piano. Though, the nickelodeons where successful, the exhibitors had to go the market due to the high demand. They adopted the use of mass production and techniques. 

History of Video Production – Turning Point

The new system shifted from the cameraman system of creative control to the director system. This led to an industry-wide shift away from the documentary films to narrative films. Under the new system, the production labor was subdivided between the director who was the coordinator and managed many aspects of the production from scenario development to the editing. 

Thomas Edison wanted monopolistic control during that time and used patent infringement suits against his competitors. Though he managed to scare some movie companies from the U.S market for a while, his tactic did not succeed for long after Biograph won an appeal of a crucial test case that Edison had won in the lower court. Later, Edison changed his tactics and started making pacts with the competitors. This resulted to Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) which was formed in 1908. However, later the power of the Trust was eventually challenged by independent companies which later broke the hold of MPPC over the industry. 

In the early 1920s, most major movie companies wanted to secure places of movies in American Culture. Financial institutions started seeing the prospering movie industry as a legitimate investment. However, as the industry was settling into a status quo, there was the advent of sound technology. This upset the balance and led to new major competitors. Warner Brothers and RKO Corp. Warner Brothers would go on and pave way for the “talkies” the The Jazz Singer, which used Western Electric’s Vitaphone System, set off a craze for movies with sound in 1927. During the talkie revolution, major movie companies like the Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount and RKO became dominant in the industry. Though most Movie Companies where based in New York City, most production would take place in Hollywood and California. Many producers took advantage of the area’s sunny weather and diverse scenery for movie production. 

History of Video Production – Television

By 1980s, new television technologies started emerging which revolutionized video production by film companies with the help of videocassette recorders film producers were able to record films with ease. Also, consumers were able to do their television programming. TV shows also started to emerge. The development of cable television and satellite broadcasting popularized Pay TV services and 24-hour music video stations. Many feared these newer technologies were the threat to Motion Picture. The good thing is that they had the opposite effect in the provision of the new ancillary market for feature films. Home Box Office (HBO) was the first to introduce TV shows. They introduced pay television by using satellite broadcasting. With the rise of home video production, the financing of movies was largely affected. Producers would sell video rights before production on a film had even started. Videocassette and home taping became everyday practice. 

History of Video Production – Video

This video has some great information on the History of Video Production

[also related to the history of video production: digital versus film photography]

Can this History of Video Production Tell Us What Is Next?

In conclusion, the use of video production is still vast nowadays. Video production has taken a new twist with the use of video production being employed in many areas like websites and corporate videos. There are many types of videos. The most common remain film and TV production, corporate videos, marketing videos, wedding videos and many more. Corporate video production is always scripted and includes a wide range of purposes ranging from communication, training and Education, products and services and many more. Videos continue to be used in Television Shows too. The two common styles of producing videos nowadays are Electronic News Gathering (ENG) and Electronic Field Production (EFP).  Internet Video Production is also on the rise. Many websites are including videos. Video production has also evolved with the development of internet, and there are many video production tools online that allow producing videos without the need for a physical camera. A great example of this is YouTube video editor essential for creating of videos using pre-existing video contents. In essence, most internet marketing videos are used for interacting with the audience. 

Knowing the history of video production has help us at Blare stay on the cutting edge of video technology. History of video production has taught us anything is possible. Here is a video we created High Dynamic Range with video and stills: Hyper-Lapse Video

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