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August 19, 2020

The IMAX of the 1890s

From the Museum of Modern Art, a comparison of Biograph 68mm film vs. Edison film.

YouTube description:

We live in an environment where there are moving images constantly around us.

But in 1897, this was startling and new and completely revolutionary.

It was a different way of looking at the world.

In 1939, MoMA acquired a treasure of thirty-six reels of 68mm nitrate prints and negatives made in cinema's first years.

Everything that survived of the Biograph film company lives on those reels, including a rare bit of moving image footage of Queen Victoria.

For this edition of "How to See," we visited MoMA's film archives in Hamlin, Pennsylvania to learn more about the incredible quality and clarity of this newly discovered nineteenth-century movie footage, and the efforts archivists make to preserve such irreplaceable snapshots of history.

Curator Dave Kehr joins the discussion to help us look at the early film with the same awe-inspired, expanded view of the world as did its first audiences.

[via Luke]

August 19, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


I was wrong about 60fps. They were 30fps, or sometimes higher, but not 60. Still, faster and smoother than the herky-jerky Edison films.

Posted by: Luke | Aug 19, 2020 2:21:51 PM

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