early film cameras and projectors

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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early film cameras and projectors

Unread post by startrap » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:26 am

I'm a produced playwright, based in the United Kingdom, currently working on a play set in Europe at around 1905 in which a film camera and projector play a central role. I've read the relevant John Barnes books, but there's still a lot I need to know about what was available at that time and exactly how it worked. What are other good books that I ought to consult? Is there an acknowledged expert on this subject in the UK whom I ought to know about?

Thanks to anyone who can help.


Michael O'Regan
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Unread post by Michael O'Regan » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:43 am


You could try this forum. It mainly concerns 8mm/16mm collecting, but there are some guys on there who have a knowledge of the history of the technology involved.


Good luck

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Unread post by urbanora » Thu Dec 03, 2009 4:19 pm

The best person to speak to is Stephen Herbert, former head of technical services at the National Film Theatre. His contact details are here:

Luke McKernan
http://www.lukemckernan.com" target="_blank

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Unread post by Cinegraphica » Fri Dec 04, 2009 11:21 am


Stephen Herbert is the man you should contact as mentioned above.

You could also try to contact the members of The Projected Picture Trust: http://www.ppttrust.org/
Last edited by Cinegraphica on Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Christopher Jacobs
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Unread post by Christopher Jacobs » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:16 pm

If you haven't yet discovered this website about the numerous film formats in use during the early years of cinema, it may prove a valuable reference: http://www.xs4all.nl/~wichm/filmsize.html

And while most of its information deals with somewhat later periods, you may also find some useful details about various wide film formats, early sound technology, and early color processes at the online Widescreen Museum at http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/index.htm

--Christopher Jacobs

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Darren Nemeth
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Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:41 pm

A lot of the early ones, before the 1910s, were geared so one complete rotation of the crank was 16 frames.

There is a theater projector collector on eBay named "tomthewom". He frequently has old Powers projectors on eBay and may be able to answer some of your questions with authority.
"How to Film Moving Pictures in the 1910's" by Darren Nemeth
https://darren-nemeth.squarespace.com/h ... the-1910s/

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Unread post by startrap » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:38 am

Thanks for your help to everyone so far. I'll follow up your advice.


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