"Moving pictures" have been around in one shape or another since as early as 900BC. However, the more contemporary forms (after Muybridge's zoopraxiscope and horse gait experiment) come quicker to our minds, like the Lumiere Brother's cinematograph and Edison's kinetograph -- the first moving picture cameras. And, as history reveals, old cinematic rivalries die hard. French and American filmmakers once again found themselves vying to be the first to revolutionize cinema over 60 years later, only this time, it was with the invention that changed the way we, especially independent filmmakers, approach filmmaking: the handheld camera. Check out this great documentary on its history after the jump.
It's pretty easy to take handheld cameras for granted. People my age grew up in a time when making a movie was as easy as grabbing your parents' handheld and running around in the dark with a flashlight trying to recreate The Blair Witch Project. (When I was 13, I shot my first "movie" on a VHS camcorder.)
But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, cameras were the size of Lincoln Continental, and capturing footage meant careful staging and planning. But when French anthropologist Jean Rouch used a wind-up handheld camera meant for amateurs to make Moi Un Noir, it changed filmmaking from there on out.
The documentary The Camera That Changed The World, walks us through the history of the handheld camera, and you can check it out below:
Filmmaking became an accessible and revolutionary approach to capturing the human experience after the handheld camera. Though it started out as a wind-up amateurish device, it has evolved in such a way that it has allowed people like us to have the freedom to simply go out and make a film -- even those early films you wouldn't even show to your mother.
What do you think about the contribution handheld cameras have had on filmmaking?
- Fascinating: The Birth of Hand Held Camera and How It Revolutionized the Way We Film -- Mentorless
- The Camera That Changed The World -- Vimeo
[via Cinephilia and Beyond]