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They always say that, whatever your endeavors or accomplishments may be, you will have to look back at your past and take anchor. In film-making, you’ll have to take a step back and look at what others before you have done in order to give you the techniques that you’re making use of today as a filmmaker.
This article will attempt to look at three great and legendary filmmakers that have set the foundation of what is now known as modern film-making. Because of their innovations, they can be called the pioneers of modern film-making. Many filmmakers follow their methods and improve on them to have better outcomes.
David Llewelyn Wark “D.W.” Griffith was known as the “Inventor of Hollywood.” He was an American film director, writer, and producer. Griffith is credited with creating the modern film-making techniques used in Hollywood today. Some of his best works are The Birth of a Nation which was filmed on 1915 and Intolerance which was shown on 1916. The Birth of a Nation made use of advanced camera and narrative techniques that many filmmakers today still use. He is also credited for the use of close-up shots.
George Albert Smith
George Albert Smith introduced the technique of double exposure of the film in the camera. The set would be draped in black, and after the main shot, the film negatives was re-exposed to the scene. This was a good trick for ghost films because the figures look transparent. Smith also was the one who started the special effects technique of reverse motion. A few films made use of this technique like Tipsy, Topsy, Turvy, and The Awkward Sign Painter.
Arthur Melbourne Cooper
The first full scale use of animation in movies was done in 1899. Animated sequences first made an appearance in the short film called Matches: An Appeal, which was made by the British filmmaker Arthur Melbourne Cooper. The 30-second animated film was created using stop-motion photography, which is very popular today. The film was an attempt to convince the audience to support British troops fighting the Boer War by sending them supplies of matches.
Robert W. Paul
The continuity of real film involving moving the action from one sequence to another is a milestone usually attributed to Robert W. Paul. Paul was a British filmmaker who first conceptualized that film-making technique in his film titled “Come Along, Do!” that was released in 1898. This is one of the first films that featured more than one shot at that time.
He also was credited for the reverse-cranking technique which allowed the same film footage to be exposed several times which created multiple exposures and super-positions. This technique was used on the film Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost in 1901.
The techniques that these three filmmakers have innovated for the films of their time have since become common processes in the creation of today’s films. Without these three pioneers, and many others of their time, modern film-goers like us will probably not be able to view films as they are today.