Knowing about the history of cinema is a great first step in becoming a well-rounded student of film, and though it's pretty simple figuring out where to start (at the beginning), sometimes it's a little bit intimidating navigating the timeline to find out which parts were pivotal in the development of the industry and art. The Ministry of Cinema has taken the guesswork out of it by breaking down cinematic history into its most integral parts in a 6-part video series entitled A Timeline of World Cinema.
The thing that stuck out to me first about this series was that it was broken up in the same way introductory film history courses, textbooks, and scholarly texts usually are: moving forward from the pre-classical period, to the birth of the Studio System, the Golden Age of Cinema, and so on.
Check out the full series below. You'll learn all about the invention of the motion picture camera (and early projectors), which some credit to Thomas Edison with his kinetoscope -- though the Lumière Brothers developed their own camera, the cinematograph, at the same time. Learn about the first films, which include, naturally, short pieces from the Lumière Brothers and Edison, but those of Georges Méliès as well, the Edison Trust, the introduction of studios, the development of sound, and much, much more!
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries
The history of cinema is not only rich, but important for the advancement of our art form. Knowing how far we've come as an industry will certainly help educate our choices as filmmakers, as well as inspire our adoration toward a medium that we all love. So, be sure to check out the rest of the series on the Ministry of Cinema's YouTube channel.