July 5, 2015

“Roundhay Garden Scene” (1888) – The Oldest Known Film Footage to Exist

Roundhay Garden Scene is the oldest surviving film in existence and is considered by most to be the first movie ever made using a single lens camera.


It is a short silent black and white movie and was filmed and directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince. The film was made at Oakwood Grange in Roundhay, Leeds on October 14 1888.

It features Adolphe Le Prince (son), Sarah Whitley (mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley (father-in-law) and Harriet Hartley. They are all seen walking around in the Oakwood Grange garden of Joseph and Sarah Whiteley. Curiously, Sarah Whiteley is seen walking backwards as she turns around and Joseph Whiteley’s coat tails are flying as he also turns. Sadly, Sarah Whitley died ten days after this scene was filmed.

The First Movie Camera with a Single Lens

The Roundhay Garden Scene was recorded on an Eastman Kodak 1885 paper-based photographic film through Louis Le Prince's single lens combination camera projector Type-1 MkII. According to his son Alphonse Le Prince it was recorded at 12 frames per second.

Louis Le Prince's Single Lens Combination Camera Projector Type-1 MkII (LPCCP Type-1 MkII) showing the back or rear view with two rolls of paper-based film on spools.

The First Movie Goes Digital

This digital version of the first movie, was produced by the National Museum of Photography Film and Television and has 52 frames with a run time of 2.11 seconds at 24.64 frame/s (the modern cinematographic frame-rate).

It switches the left side and the right side from the 1931 National Science Museum copy (seen below) in which the house is incorrectly shown on the right side of the scene. This is because paper parts on the left side of the film, reduced visibility. By having the distortion on the right side, a more pleasing effect for viewing is created.

Louis Le Prince's Roundhay Garden Scene 1888 frames copy of 1931 from the National Science Museum London showing 20 frames of film.

Louis Le Prince

Louis Le Prince has been heralded as the ‘Father of Cinematography’ since 1930 for having filmed the first movie ever on paper film using a single lens camera.

A Frenchman, who also worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, Louis conducted his ground-breaking work in 1888 in the city of Leeds, England. This was several years before the work of competing inventors such as the Lumière brothers and Thomas Edison.

A photography of Louis Le Prince, inventor of motion pricture film. Circa 1885. Courtesy of Armley Mills Industrial Museum, Leeds.

(via First Movie)



6 comments:

  1. Pretty sure this is a man.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Video??? Geez, you young people ought to do a little bit of research and get to know a bit more about the past....This is film, not video......video (tape) doesn't happen until the 50s

    ReplyDelete
  3. Guillermo EchevarriaJuly 5, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    year 1888,, Jules Verners died,, Adolf Hitler was born.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is footage was shot by Louis Le Prince in Leeds, England where he lived and designed two motion picture cameras. He is the true inventor of the motion picture camera well ahead of Edison or the Lumiere brothers. Some believe his strange disappearance in 1890 was down to Edison with whom he was at war over patents.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for providing the essential explanatory information that seems to be otherwise not forthcoming

    ReplyDelete


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