Color is the aspect of things that is caused by differing qualities of light being reflected or emitted by them (“Color – What is Color?”); Blue, Green, Red or Yellow are all colors that most people can see in everyday objects, the most vibrant colors tend to come from motion pictures; which goes as far back as the late 1860s but were not an inventive idea until the 1900s with an engrossing movement of vibrant colors and sounds that create excitement, fear, anger and joy these moving pictures became the most popular form of entertainment. Sound enhances the imaginary world, it can provide depth, establish character and environment, introduce a new scene or cue the viewer to important information (“film sound and music”).
The world around us is advancing due to our growing capabilities when compared to the previous lifestyle of agriculture. Then humankind have developed several ways of improving entertainment within film; camera technology is constantly developing as it is influenced by other art mediums. Before the invention of cameras people already knew the main idea of how to capture an image; people could process an image on a wall or piece of paper but when it came to preserving light to create an image the results were a lot harder to find and maintain than using ink blocks and other techniques (“A History of Photography”). The first known instrument to have been similar to the idea of processed photos is called the Camera Obscura ( which is the latin word for dark room) it is believed to be invented around the 13-14th century. The Camera Obscura was a large dark box with a small proportioned hole on one side of it (“A History of Photography”). The way this camera was thought out to work is when the light creeks through the hole on the side of the box it will create an image on the surface that it meets which is the wall inside of the box.
The image was upside down and mirrored; the result of the Camera Obscura created multiple ideas of developing new and easier methods. The way photography was developing in the moment during its time period was considered to be the best advancement of art. Many artists such as Leonardo and Michelangelo used the Camera Obscura to speed the process of drawing or painting images. The first photo ever recorded in history was taken in 1825 by a French inventor Joseph Niepce which shows the view from a window at Le Gras.
“Niepce came up with the idea of using a petroleum derivative called “Bitumen of Judea … Bitumen hardens with exposure to light so the unhardened material was then washed away. The metal plate, which was the media used by Niepce, was then polished rendering a negative image which then was coated with ink producing a print.” (“A History of Photography”)This quote demonstrates the process it took to create one photo, over the course of time the idea of Niepce’s first image became unsuccessful due to the weight and expenses of metal in the 1800s and the time it took to polish each photo thus adding another invention to the timeline of technology. The first commercial camera is named Kodak Brownie and was an affordable camera that most middle class people could afford although the inventions of photography was never recognisable. Color photography was explored but most of the images were black and white, for new inventors it was hard to keep the color from a photo to stay or not fade away with time passing due to their chemical formulas. A modern movie camera takes 24 pictures a second and when these pictures combined together moving at a fast pace it looks as if it were in motion.
Thomas Edison one of most famous inventors caught this idea while trying to discover a way to make still photos into videos but even before Edison worked on movies this basic idea was already developed by a British photographer named Eadweard Muybridge. He wanted to prove that when a horse ran, all four of his legs could be in the air at once; by taking several photos very fast he proved his point thus leading to idea of videos (“Motion Pictures”). Thomas Edison created a handful of beneficial objects that helped America grow into the nation it is today. Although movies and pictures are not life saving inventions it did create new forms of art and became a very popular way of entertainment. Around 1888 Edison picked a team of muckers to work on this project, headed by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, they built the Strip Kinetograph which was a very early movie camera (“Motion Pictures”). This “strip” was a long, thin piece of film that originally was created for cameras but unlike older photographic film this strip took pictures so fast when it was placed together it would almost appear as a video.
Unlike today Edison’s Kinetograph could not project films to large audiences it only could show films one at a time through a peep-show box. The Grey Brothers and Otway Latham were founders of a company that produced and exhibited films of prize fights using the Kinetoscope; Woodville, their father, and W.K.L. Dickson which was an assistant in the Edison Laboratory, was called to help them create a device that would project life-sized images onto a screen in order to attract larger audiences (“First movie projector demonstrated in United States”).
Woodville and Dickson created a new invention called “Lathom Loop”, a loop was placed in the strip of film just before it entered the camera so that the camera can quickly pause and display the image. By April 22, 1895 publishers all over the world promoted the Latham Loop later on that June, the elder Lathom requested a patent for his “Projecting-Kinetoscope”. Motivating inventors worldwide created a movement of inventions and later that year another pair of brothers Frenchmen Auguste and Louis Lumiere invented their own motion-picture projector called the cinematographe. In 1896 Edison improves his projector and renames it “Vitascope”, it officially becomes the first commercially, successful, projector in the U.S. The following year Georges Méliès became the first person to film fictional narratives, he discovered the basics camera quirks: stop motion, slow motion, dissolve, fade-out, superimposition, and double exposure (Cook, David A, Sklar, “History of the motion picture.
“). Méliès used stop-motion photography to make one-shot “tricks” which allowed him make things appear and disappear but lost his audience in 1910 due to other advancements within film technology. Since then many different forms of projectors were created such as : the Filmstrip project (used mainly in classrooms), the Opaque projector (printed out small objects), the slide projector ( projected virtually anything that can be can put on film), Overhead projector, the home Theater projector, the Computer projector, and the Video projector. The Evolution of cameras have developed and impacted the generations after it to advance even further into technology. Technicolor and other forms of art were introduced to cameras and projectors to create color motion pictures and photos.
Paintings often motivated motion pictures and helped created films; Edward Hopper’s House by the Railroad inspired the creation of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho which was popular black and white motion picture in the 1960s. Artist such as Pablo Picasso, Braque Wilbourn, James Abbott McNeill, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper and Caspar David inspired motion pictures with different forms of art. Realism and Surrealism are two major forms of art that influenced cinematic motion-pictures. “Realism is an approach to art that stresses the naturalistic representation of things, the look of objects and figures in ordinary life. It emerged as a distinct movement in the mid-nineteenth century, in opposition to the idealistic, sometimes mythical subjects that were then popular, but it can be traced back to sixteenth-century Dutch art and forward into twentieth-century styles such as Social Realism.” (“Impressionism Movement, Artists and Major Works.”)The art of realism helped motivate moving pictures by creating a type of painting that gave a realistic view to a point where the specific painting’s ended up being the next idea for a major motion picture. Realism portrays life as it really is which gives a truthful view of the real world through characters and their environment.
“Surrealism revolutionized the art of cinema with new techniques and approaches that freed it from traditional storytelling, transforming the medium into one that could explore, reveal, and possibly even replicate the inner-workings of the subconscious mind.” (“Impressionism Movement, Artists and Major Works.”)Surrealism within films created shock and were driven by strong emotions that viewers were entertained from. It helped show the audience a different form of art that was more than the standard visuals. These films assaulted traditional institutions in society and had revolutionary potential. Using these two forms of art many monochromatic films were developed, for centuries artists used different shades (tones) of brown or black ink to create monochrome pictures on paper; the ink would simply be more or less diluted to achieve the required shades (Tate, “Monochrome – Art Term.
“). Shades of grey oil paint would be used to create shadows and lights to help define the structures and forms of a person, place or object. The first attempted to colour films were by stenciling the strips to see if the it would portray the color that were drawn over it. Others tried tinting the frames of certain scenes to give an artistic appeal but of course these attempts failed and lead to a new invention which was the Kinemacolor.
By 1910, The Kinemacolor company perfected a way to synchronize a camera by using red and green alternating frames; it was the first system to record any form of actual color in motion pictures. The third color, blue, was unsuccessful and couldn’t be made into the camera, since the camera only had two different frames it could only hold up to two different colors at a time. The Kinemacolor was flickery and required a different type of projector in which caused it to fail quickly, the camera only had to filters that were red and green processes and these filters did not produce enough color through the spectrum and gave its best images a abstract look, with greenish, washed-out skies. After several attempts to add a third filter to the Kinemacolor it repeatedly failed and destroyed the film strips leading to a new solution.
The solution was Gaumont’s Chronochrome process which solved the problem of film shredding by making the frames smaller it was the first viable three-color process but died out by the 1920s. Its film size combined with the need for abstract projector made its success rate decline over time due to cost and other disadvantages that were not worth its reproduction. This was the first steps to color but even that was not enough for the audience’s demands, color films also costed more and were not commonly used in dramatic, romantic, or serious films. Since the first motion-picture people have always thought of color being interrupted within in film but could only portray the world as black and white.
People have always tried to show their version of how the world is portrayed and replicate it as best as they could but always struggled to demonstrate how colorful life can be. Once the idea of motion pictures turned into a reality Black and White films dominated cinematic productions, colour technology was then invented and the film industries had to upgrade their status. Although the Kinemacolor was a successful idea of adding color it wasn’t successful enough to keep up with the demands and that’s when Technicolor came into play. Technicolor was invented in 1915 which was founded by Herbert Kalmus, he introduced film-makers to the two-colour subtractive process following by a three strip process in 1932.
“Two 35mm strips of black and white film negatives, one sensitive to blue and the other to red, ran together through an aperture behind a magenta filter. A separate strip allowed the green light to pass through behind a green filter. The lights were divided through a prism and refracted by mirrors through the different filters, all in a single camera” (“A History of Colour: The Difficult Transition from Black and White Cinematography”).This process layered on top of eachother created color films and allowed the filmmakers to choose which scene they wanted in color and which scenes they wanted in black and white. The most colorful scenes in the films were often the ones shown in color to demonstrate the filmmakers perspective and to save money.
Technicolor was expensive and had a problem when trying to produce enough light within the camera, keeping the images clear throughout the film and it was also time consuming. In 1952 Eastmancolor was introduced and had only one strip colour negative process or ‘monopack’, its high quality made every filmmaker in Hollywood introduce this new form of colour in their studios. In 1954, the 3-strip Technicolor camera was used for the last time, and the company remained as we know it today, releasing prints for films shot with monopack negatives (“A History of Colour: The Difficult Transition from Black and White Cinematography”). As the technique for colour became easier to use and understand technology became more proficient and the film industries kept modifying its projectors and camera to fit its audience. Now that colour was perfected the new idea was introducing sound to films and it became the next hit in Hollywood. The idea of inventing film and combining it with recorded sound is as old as cave art; On February 27, 1888 Muybridge proposed a scheme for sound cinema which would combine his image-casting zoopraxiscope with Edison’s recorded-sound technology. In 1895 these two combined their devices creating the Kinetophone which required the audience to use earphones but individual, outmoded by other more successful film projection the Kinetophone immediately died out. In 1899, a projected sound-film, Cinemacrophonograph or Phonorama, was built based on the work of a Swiss-born inventor named François Dussaud and was exhibited in Paris; similar to the Kinetophone, the system required the audience to use earphones.
Although sound was seeping its way through the film industries the problems of combining sound and film came with many issues such as: synchronization, playback volume and recording fidelity. “Cinematic innovators attempted to cope with the synchronization problem in several ways; an increasing number of motion picture systems relied on gramophone records–known as sound-on-disc technology; the records were referred to as “Berliner discs” (“Motion picture, Sound film”). Léon Gaumont had demonstrated a system involving mechanical synchronization between a film projector and turntable at the 1900 Paris Exposition. In 1902 his Chronophone, involving an electrical connection, was demonstrated to the French Photographic Society; Four years later he introduced the Elgéphone which was a compressed-air amplification system based on the Auxetophone and was developed by British inventors Horace Short and Charles Parsons (“Motion picture, Sound film”). In 1913 Edison introduced his new invention which was exactly the Kinetophone but instead was projected on a screen but retired not long after because of its from of synchronization.
Finnish inventor Eric Tigerstedt was granted German patent 309,536 for his sound-on-film work in 1914; the same year he showed a preview of a film he was making in Berlin. A number of inventors that have failed helped the later more advanced sound-film technology, an american inventor Lee De Forest was awarded several patents that lead to the first sound-on-film technology. At New York City’s Rivoli Theater, on April 15, 1923, came the first commercial screening of motion pictures with sound-on-film, the following year De Forest released the first commercial dramatic film shot and not to long after the Warner Brothers came to play and dominate the film industry (“Motion picture, Sound film”). Realizing that talking movies were not just a “fad” but were something that their audiences had been asking for and thus came Vitaphone movies.
Actors had to look into the camera in order to be heard and if they were to turn away you would not be able to hear them because the microphones were very sensitive. People liked to see actors speak “hence the term diegetic sound, which was sound that ‘naturally’ occurs within the screen such as an actor speaking, singing, or playing an instrument on the screen” (Hayward 85). These films were called “talkies” and it reinvented society in various ways, it opened the door to many other ideas such as singing, dancing, live plays, and skits, the idea of film created much more than just art it created a future for entertainment.
What is the Development of Sound and Color in film? It is the creation of art throughout the ages combined with the ideals of inventors who have brought life into films. From paintings to photographs, moving pictures have always been an idea just as sound has been when movies had become the fad of the century. The world around us is advancing due to our growing capabilities, humankind have developed several ways of improving entertainment within film and camera technology that will constantly be developing as it is influenced by other art mediums.