Wonderworks Supplemental Files

Three American Beauties is a good example of how vibrant a hand tinted film could be. One of the first jobs that women had in the film industry was that of hand tinter. Each 35mm frame would be painted by hand to add color to a scene. That average out to 18 frames per second. 1080 frames per minute. Adding color was not easy. The other option was to do a color wash of the entire scene to show mood/emotion/conditions. Red for a anger, pink for passion, amber for a warm room, blue for a cold one, gold for opulence.

One of the pioneering directors in early American cinema was Edwin S. Porter who worked for Edison’s production company. He was the first director to cutaway from one camera to a closer shot to impact hist story. In the short below there is a joke that would not play well in a wide shot, so he cuts to a different angle in close to show the joke and then back into a wide shot. Filmmakers had not done this before because they thought the audiences wouldn’t understand.


Georges Melies was a pioneering director in France, his A Trip to the Moon is considered the first Science Fiction film. It is also the first film to have the narrative take place in multiple locations covering an extended time frame. It does not feature any cutaways. It is shot very much like you are an audience member sitting in the middle of a theater watching a play unfold.

Another by Porter is The Great Train Robbery. It is your first western and the first film to intercut between different narrative threads of a story. Still no compression of time through editing, but a more complicated manner of storytelling.


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