New Media Technologies- Exploration

Initial Research:


Sallie Gardner at a Gallop. 1878.

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop is a series of photographs consisting of a galloping horse, the result of a photographic experiment by Eadweard Muybridge on June 15, 1878. Most commonly this moving image sequence is cited as the first of its time. The clip is not filmed but instead consists of 24 individual photographs shot in rapid succession, making a moving picture when using a Zoopraxiscope.

Eadweard Muybridge, “Sallie Gardner at a Gallap”, 1878.


(play at 2.24)

It is most commonly believed that Fred Ott’s Sneeze is the first recorded motion picture, however, Edison was successful in his experiments leading up to the final film sequence. The video inserted to the left depicts these initial experiments, proving to me as a photographer that constant experimenting is vital to our practice.


Fred Ott’s Sneeze. 1894.
Thomas A. Edison, “Fred Ott’s Sneeze”, 1894.

Thomas A. Edison began thinking about the development of motion pictures in 1888 after studying the successful motion-sequence still photographic experiments of Eadweard Muybridge. His idea was to go beyond his predecessors, who had adapted the existing photographic equipment of the day to record brief sequences of motion, and invent an entirely new technology to do “for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.”


The Cinématographe was a camera, printer and projector designed by brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, it was first demonstrated March 1895. This new technology enabled them to project motion pictures onto the screen meaning motion picture was becoming an ever growing commodity.

Up until this point films detailed day to day events, such as ‘Workers leaving the Lumiere factory”. Audiences were growing tired of this monotony and in 1900 the notion of a ‘storyline’ became apparent.

Post Production Processes- Manipulation.


In 1986 the Lumiere brothers faced competition in the form of George Melies, who offered the brothers 10,000 francs for one of their cinematographe cameras. The brothers declined and this resulted in Melies purchasing an English camera called an Animatograph and adapting it himself.

Whilst in Paris shooting a bus pass through a tunnel his camera jammed, when he got it working again the bus had disappeared and was replaced by a hearse. When developing the film he noticed that the bus changed into the hearse on the screen, something we would now call the jump cut.

One could argue that this is the first signs of ‘Manipulation’ in cinema, as they were then able to edit their footage. From this Melies developed the ‘fade in and fade out’, overlapping dissolves and stop motion photography. From these developments Melies was able to transcend film from the mundane everyday to a narrative story.


‘A Trip to the Moon’, George Melies, 1902.

He composed his shots so that it were if the viewer had ‘the perfect theatre seat,out of the 500 films he created Melies had never moved the camera.


Film maker D.W Griffith created the ‘cut in’ editing technique which was the first of time. It involved cutting from a medium long shot of a hanging tree, to a full frame shot in the middle of the scene to enhance the emotional impact of an exchange between two actors. This led to the development of continuity editing which involved a cutting style which maintains a sense of continuity and time. This then led to the invention of ‘intercutting’ this involved cutting between two shots in different scenes of parallel action.

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The silent film era lasted from 1894 to 1929. In silent films for entertainment, the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, mime and title cards which contain a written indication of the plot or key dialogue.


‘The Jazz Singer’ is a 1927 American musical film. The first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialoguesequences, its release heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era.

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