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  • How Was This Done?

    On the documentary it says there was no editing back at the turn of the century. This was created in 1901.

    Was the film backed up in the camera and then reshot on, or was this 3 different shots overlapped after they were developed? Or another way I haven't touched upon.

    If it's 3 different shots 1, Wide full shot 2. Head 3 Smoke, how did he shoot so it would sync properly when combining negatives? Or even if he rewound the tape, how did it sync?

    We don't have these problems on computers.

    1901! We might have technology, but the cleverness and genius...


  • #2
    From my research and when in film class, these early films were all done in camera. Multiple exposures.

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    • #3
      Agreed. What Melies did was cover the part of the frame that he wanted to reexpose with black completely. Then, he shoots the first portion. He rewinds the film, and this time blacks out everything except the area with the head. He times it right, and the end result looks like it does now. The dead giveaway that it was a double exposure was the line with his head that was shaking a little. Still, this is immensely impressive for the time and this is why Melies is so highly respected of a filmmaker.
      -AF

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      • #4
        THANKS to both you. That makes it even more amazing.

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        • #5
          Who said there was "no" editing in 1901?

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          • #6
            It's in the Meilies documentary.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UniqueAmI View Post
              It's in the Meilies documentary.
              It's wrong. There was most certainly editing, just not in the sense that we think of today. One, it was linear editing. Two, editing clips together was pretty much all it was. There were no visual effects then, but there was certainly editing. Nice catch Marius.
              -AF

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              • #8
                What the documentary was saying (and what I was asking in this thread) was there were no special effects via editing. Which is why I posted this thread in the first place.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by UniqueAmI View Post
                  What the documentary was saying (and what I was asking in this thread) was there were no special effects via editing. Which is why I posted this thread in the first place.
                  Yeah I know, just saying that there "was no editing" is different from saying there were no visual effects.
                  -AF

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                  • #10
                    According to this documentary A Trip to the Moon was one of the first of the true shorts. 13 minutes long with scenes. Supposedly most films from that time were moments in time of setting up the camera and letting it run. The example they used was a woman trying to ride a bicycle, of course she fell off. One static shot, she didn't leave frame. It was at this point in the documentary where they mentioned there was no editing. So, perhaps the editing of A Trip to the Moon is the first there was. I know the original Frankenstein was just one shot, a famous one at that. I don't honestly know. I'm not that familiar with the early days of cinema.

                    The way he came up with the trick shot was he was shooting on the street in Paris and his camera got stuck. By the time he got it working again the people had passed and a hearse with horse and carriage were in it's place. A grand happy accident.

                    Either way Meilies was an incredible artist. He even owned the Robert Houdin theatre. Another magician took the Houdin name and added an I at the end, Houdini. Which makes him even cooler.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by UniqueAmI View Post
                      Either way Meilies was an incredible artist. He even owned the Robert Houdin theatre.
                      It's great to have a hero. I'm very happy for you. Meilies sounds like a great guy. And yes, owning your own theater does take the worry out of how you are going to get people to come and pay to watch your movies. It's an inspiring idea and one I might have to follow because I need ideas for my own movie distribution. This might be it! yay! Thanks my dear.

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                      • #12
                        Young people have a tendency to look to modern film makers for inspiration, as they should. They go to the movies, so their viewing list is quite limited. Seeking out older films is a passion not a requirement. I know many actors who refuse to watch b/w films, and film makers who care nothing for their early predecessors. The problem for these youngsters is, read interviews with any successful modern film-maker and the moral majority talk about the pioneers as their inspiration. In order to truly understand film-making you should understand the process. The greats steal much more from the pioneers than they do their contemporary peers.

                        I'm often surprised when I listen to young successful musicians speak and they talk about the great artists of the 50 - 70s as inspirational, especially within the rap/hip hop community where their influences are not recognizable in their own music.

                        I'm watching the Buster Keaton collection right now and Go West is an hour of brilliant cows and incredible filmmaking with a camera that isn't much more sophisticated than Meilies used. I sit to watch this and I know whether I like or dislike the full film, I'll be watching a movie. I can't say that about many films made in today's market. Many lo-budget movies made today are just made because they have a camera and very little of the "success" process goes into the product. The process of creating Chaplin's The Gold Rush" is the same as "ET" as it is "American Sniper". Technology enhances the process. But, you need to understand the process in order to utilize the technology properly.

                        As a special feature the Keystone short "Go West" is featured. It's the story of a young drunken frat boy's escapades when his father throws him out of the house. The actors are all monkeys with a few chimpanzees tossed in. It's brilliant. Shorts most people do today don't even compare in story or technique. Film is an artform, and it should be understood. So few do. These monkeys are better actors than just about every short I've seen on any forum. How is that possible? It's not. It's the film makers.

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                        • #13
                          Interesting.

                          Modern film isn't an art for art's sake. It's a business. The business of finding the lowest common denominator and selling that to the masses at the bottom of the intelligence triangle and make tons of money. Making money equals success. Not whether your film was "inspiring" or "brilliant" or actually "good".

                          So modern filmmakers need not look at old movies, except to steal a story to remake. Modern film is about what is trendy now and will sell to the masses of sheeple now, not yesterday or a century ago.

                          So if you want to be successful, make whatever can be easily consumed by everybody, not intelligent people only. That's probably why I'll never be successful in film, or rich because of filmmaking.

                          In conclusion, it's the video of a cat clawing a guy's privates that will get the YouTube views, not the overthought arty masterpiece.

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                          • #14
                            That is by far the saddest and worst description of the film-making business. I don't care how low the film maker is, no one starts out thinking "this script sucks but it'll sell" and heads out to make a piece of shit. NO ONE.

                            Do they make crap? Of course, because storytelling is down the drain. But, there are some who still believe in quality, and those film makers are scholars of cinema.

                            You have a terrible attitude toward film making. Why learn? Watching masters should be a joy and reveled in, it can only make you better at a craft. By all means watch a thousand youtube crap videos, and churn out garbage. I'd rather watch actual film makers. I will always stress watching people who know what they're doing as opposed to watching idiots who should have their camera taken away from them.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Marius Macrobius View Post
                              Modern film isn't an art for art's sake. It's a business. The business of finding the lowest common denominator and selling that to the masses at the bottom of the intelligence triangle and make tons of money. Making money equals success. Not whether your film was "inspiring" or "brilliant" or actually "good".

                              So modern filmmakers need not look at old movies, except to steal a story to remake. Modern film is about what is trendy now and will sell to the masses of sheeple now, not yesterday or a century ago.
                              You can't think of any modern films you would classify as art? Sure, YouTube as a platform is not exactly art generally speaking and there is certainly some trash that comes into movie theaters. However, I think many if not most modern films at least fall into the category of "art." Film was almost from the start about gaining an audience, as is most art. Film causes enjoyment and entertainment through storytelling, and I think that's enough to be classified as art.
                              -AF

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