The Cinematograph (from Ancient Greek κίνημα / Kinema , “movement” and γράφειν / graphein , “write”) is the registered trademark of a device invented in 1895 by the Lumière brothers , both camera to camera and film projector after that Antoine Lumière (the father of Louis and Auguste) discovers, during a trip to Paris, the kinetoscope of Thomas Edison he advises his son to imagine a competitor device 1also incorporating the large screen that could admire the Grevin Museum , during the same trip, attending a projection of luminous Pantomimes the Optical Theater of Émile Reynaud 2 .


It’s the , in Lyon , that Augustus and Louis Lumière file their patent for the cinematograph. They bought the name from Léon Bouly 3 in 1892 , who had deposited it to protect his appliances, two of which are kept at the Museum of Arts and Crafts 4 , but their smooth operation has never been proven, no article of professional presses and scientist of the time does not testify to the existence of any projection made by their inventor, who would not have failed to attract attention 5 .

The machine of the Light, which Louis developed during the year 1895 with the Parisian engineer Jules Carpentier , uses the flexible and resistant ribbon invented in 1888 by John Carbuttand marketed in the United States and in England by the American industrialist George Eastman (the future Kodak ). In the fall of 1894 , Antoine Lumière, the father of the two brothers from Lyon, had attended a demonstration in Paris of Thomas Edison’s kinetoscope and the American inventor’s envoys had graciously offered him a fragment of the Eastman film, played in 35 mmby Edison, and provided with a double row of perforations . This demonstration is at the origin of Louis Lumière’s interest in the invention of a more advanced machine than that of Edison. As the Lumière brothers know that Edison has filed patents for rectangular perforations that will later become the symbol of cinema, they endow their film with round perforations, with only one perforation on each side of each frame. . This delicate configuration, which makes the film more fragile during projections, will have no posterity and is quickly abandoned, in favor of the Edison 5 perforations .

Another noticeable difference is that Edison’s kinetograph drives the film in an intermittent motion caused by a ratchet wheel actuating a dented debtor, while the cinematograph has an intermittent claw drive system . Both processes, widespread in the industry (training materials under press or under different tools) can immobilize a brief moment each future photogram behind the lens of the camera, or in front of the projection or viewing window.

Louis Lumière, a great talented photographer, and Jules Carpentier had the idea of ​​making the shutter duration and exposure time adjustable by a rotating shutter whose sectors can be enlarged or diminished before turning. This makes it possible to shoot when the sun is strong, since the lenses do not yet have a diaphragm to measure the amount of light admitted onto the film. Edison’s kinetograph does not have this very interesting feature, offering shooting possibilities in any season.

Still today, film-based cameras drive image-by-image film by a claw system. The device is of course improved, thanks to the use of counter-claws which hold the film still during the opening of the shutter and the printing of the image. An additional system contributes to perfect immobilization and film planning: an intermittent presser applies to the immobilized film before releasing the pressure when moving from one image to another.

On the other hand, the claw system used by the cinematograph, which is a camera as well as a projection apparatus (with the addition of a light box) and a copy printer, is kept for recording cameras. views, but quickly abandoned for projection devices. In the years that follow, the camera will never be used as a projection device, and it will see his training claws replaced by a mechanism Malta cross circular flanks , a more robust device for intensive use movie screenings.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Maurice Trarieux-Light (interview with the grand-son of Louis Lumière, president of the Association Frères Lumière), the Letter of the first century of film No. 7, Association First century of cinema, supplement to the Bulletin of the Ministry of Culture and Francophonie No. 380, of December 3, 1994 (ISSN 1244-9539)
  2. ↑ Marie-France Briselance and Jean-Claude Morin , film grammar , Paris, New World ,, 588  p. ( ISBN  978-2-84736-458-3 ) , p.  33
  3. ↑ Cinema of the first time: new French contributions by Michel Marié, Thierry Lefebvre, in Theorem collection (1996)
  4. ↑ Equipment for recording of views called “The Cinematograph” Leon Bouly built in 1892 and 1893 , Musée des Arts et Métiers , Paris, inventory o  16684-0000-  [ archive ] and 16685-0000-  [ archive ]
  5. ↑ a and b Briselance and Morin 2010 , p.  33

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