Victor Planchon

Victor Planchon ( Paris 5th 1863 1 – Lyon 7th , 1935 2 ) is a chemist who invented the celluloid film allowing the Brothers Lumière to fix their emulsion, to film and project their first films.


At the age of fifteen, Victor Planchon joined the Laboratory of Indirect Taxation of Paris led by the chemist Charles Bardy 3 with whom he learned chemistry and photography .

In 1887, at the age of 24, he arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer as director of the departmental port control laboratory, after a passage in the Arras indirect tax office .

He is interested in gelatino-bromide plates that he abandons to move towards celluloid . In order to obtain a totally flat surface, he imagines the self-tensioning plates that are used in the same frames as the glass plates. They were so successful that he founded the same year the first European film film factory.

It is the society of the Photographic Union of Boulogne.

“” I then had the opportunity to see Louis Lumière several times in Paris, and so one fine day, I could guess, without a word being exchanged, the birth, in its marvelous spirit, of the brilliant idea of ​​Cinematograph. Three months after our interview, I took the first roll of film to Lyon. In Lyon, a huge surprise … the cinematograph was born, projecting life on a sheet of drawing paper in a screen guide … and with all the perfection of the images that we admire these days “. ”

A mutual exclusivity contract binds the two companies: Lumière will only use the film Planchon and Planchon emulsify its films with the “blue label” of the Lumière factories .

Feyzin, Planchon factories

Victor Planchon settled in Lyon and created in 1896 the Société anonyme des Pellicules françaises , PLAVIC (PLAnchon VICtor), to which the Lumière is associated. This company will provide until 1914 millions of meters of cinematographic strips sensitized to silver gelatin bromide. The factories Lumière having become insufficient (and polluting by its emanations of ether), it builds in Feyzin , hardly a hamlet then, three groups of factories allowing the manufacture of 40 000 meters of films per day and all the materials first necessary for this manufacture. Competition from Pathé plants in VincennesAfter the first war, the Cellulose Planchon Society was forced to convert to the production of artificial silk , under the direction of Henri Lumière . Without descendants, industrial success Planchon-PLAVIC stops with him 4 , 5 , 6 .


In 1893, he developed the chassis-magazine for self-tensioning films of 24, 36 or 48 films 7 .

«A discovery that the entrepreneur Victor Planchon put into industrial production by creating his small factory in the area of Capécure, rue de Constantine. The growing reputation of his film plans in the field of photography quickly reached the Lumière brothers who had on their side developed a high quality emulsion for which they sought a reliable support. After asking Planchon to put this emulsion on the famous film-plans, Auguste and Louis Lumière asked him in 1894 to think about a film strip to improve the principle of the Edison kinetoscope to reproduce moving images. Several months of research and numerous tests were necessary for the development of the cinematographic film, obtained after numerous exchanges of letters and round trips between the modest workshop of Boulogne and the city of Lyon, headquarters of the company Lumière. In December 1895, finally, Louis Lumiere evoked in a courier film close to perfection: “the clichés that it allowed us to obtain with our cinematograph are of a splendid transparency, and much superior to the films that we have had so far at our disposal . The emulsion is pure, intense, fast. “8

Circus Rancy

For its relations with the Light , Victor Planchon plans March 8, 1896 the sixth global projection takes place Rancy Circus of Boulogne-sur-Mer 9 , 8


  • Boulogne-sur-Mer is planning a Victor-Planchon square in 2012 where two statues will be installed, Victor Planchon and Marilyn Monroe by Sylvie Koechlin 9


  • Association Jean Mitry , Victor Planchon, artisan & industrial chemist cinematographer, inventor, industrial photographer in Boulogne-sur-Mer and Lyon, City of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Animation Service of architecture and heritage, ( ISBN  978-2-9527718-2-5 ).

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