Time to tell you some more about how we got from celluloid to the Together app in just over 125 years! Last time I told you about the first movies which were mostly short ‘documentaries’ showing everyday life in just one shot. Soon other subjects entered the movie tents, more amusement-type shots of vaudeville dancers, acrobats, and magicians.
The French George Melies, a former illusionist and magician, was one of the first people to add ‘special effects’ to his movies. He incorporated his tricks in his movies and thought up easy trickery that is still used in filmmaking today. The easiest and best known one is the disappearance trick; put your camera in a steady position, film a bit, stop the camera, remove one thing and start filming again. This way you can make something disappear without having anything to edit even. Don’t forget that, back then, editing wasn’t even possible. The movie camera had one ‘reel’ of film, usually about 10 minutes long, and there was no possibility yet to cut and paste different elements.
Look closely at this Melies movie and you’ll see what he did:
Making Melies-like trickery movies is great fun, especially with kids. No editing is needed and you can see the results almost instantly. It’s the best family fun you can have indoors on a rainy day. When trying out these sort of movies, make sure to keep your mobile device steady; use a tripod, for instance, or have someone with a real steady hand do the filming. The less the camera moves, the better the effect.