Film History – Week 4

1. Read The Young Oxford Book of the Movies p. 22-24 (up to Enter the Genre). In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. How did D.W. Griffith change film acting?

b. Why was Birth of a Nation such an ambitious film? Why was it criticized and banned in some cities?

c. Name the five major studios in Hollywood that rose up during this time?

d. What did Hollywood have to offer movie makers?

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Add in important dates and figures and films from your reading. This week you should add information on D.W. Griffith and his films. You can get some ideas here.

2. Visit Britannica for kids and read more about D.W. Griffith.  What techniques did he develop?

3. Read more about the studio system here.

Watch the following videos (please note that some of these videos may not be appropriate for children – please preview):

While watching this short think about how Griffith uses editing.

Film History – Week 3

1. Read Oxford Book of the Movies p. 20-21. In your notebook answer the following questions:

a. How did Méliès background influence the type of films he made?

b. List some of the special effects that Méliès introduced. Which effect was unique to the medium of film?

c. Discuss how early filmmakers used editing to create a sense of realism and drama to their films.

d. Define continuity editing and crosscutting.

Optional: Continue working on your film history timeline for your wall. Click here for an excellent resource on important dates in film history.

2. Visit EarlyCinema and read the information on Méliès, Hepworth, and Porter.

3. Watch the following videos:

Finally I wanted to link this article from the Smithsonian that I read last week. It ties in nicely with this weeks work.

Film History – Week 2

Week 2: Movie Cameras and Projection

1. Read Oxford Book of the Movies p. 16 -19.  You should be able to list several advancements and inventions that led to the birth of the movies. In a notebook write a short summary on William Dickson and the Kinetoscope and Louis and Auguste Lumiere and their Cinematographe projector. Answer the following questions:

Black Maria

a. What was the Black Maria and why was it important?

b. What miscalculation did Edison make in the early years of film developtment?

c. What was George Eastman’s roll in all of this?

Optional: Create a film history timeline for your wall. Click here for an excellent resource on important dates in film history.

2. Visit EarlyCinema and read through the wealth of information there.

3. Watch the following videos:

This one is Muybridge’s famous horse sequence.

Here is one of William Dickson’s kinetoscope films.

The next film has no sound, but I included it because it recreates the kinetoscope.

Next watch these early films by Auguste and Louis Lumiere, including the film The Sprinkler Sprinkled. Why was this particular film such a hit with audiences?

Finally, the last clip is of a short film made by Dickson. It was the first attempt at a sound film ever.

Film History – Week 1

I am putting together a film history course for Truffaut this year, and I thought I would share it on here. I majored in film studies in college, and I am very excited about Tru’s interest in film and about studying film together.

I have spent a good deal of time searching for a spine to use for our study of film history, but I have not found a solid film history book for children that I would want to use. There seems to be a major gap in this area in regards to kids, which I find surprising given our media-rich world. I would think film history would be a great topic for children to learn, but there just does not seem to be that much interest in it.

I did pick up The Young Oxford Book of the Movies a few years ago, and although I don’t feel it is the perfect book for our studies, it will do. There is much I like about the book, I just don’t care for the way it is organized. It does cover the history of film though, so we will be using it as a guide. In addition I will link web pages, videos from you tube, and Netflix films to watch. This, along with some projects that will be assigned, will make up the bulk of our studies.

Week 1: Precursors of Film

1. Read Oxford Book of the Movies p. 10 -15.  You should be able to list and talk about the earliest forms of picture shows, such as shadows thrown on  a cave, puppet shows, the diorama, and the magic lantern. You should also be able to explain the importance of  optical toys to the history of film. In a notebook define persistence of vision and write a short summary of your reading. Optional: Research one of the men and their inventions talked about in the reading. Read this Wikipedia entry on precursors to film.

2. Watch the following videos.

It is important to note that music was very important to these shows. Music and the moving image have been connected since the earliest times, and this idea has persisted through the years.

You can read more about magic lanterns here.

Please note that in the video above the man mistakenly calls the device a zoetrope. It is not a zoetrope but a thaumatrope.

This video illustrates a zoetrope. You can read more about a zoetrope here.

Finally, here is a short film of an early flip book.

Project for the week: Make your own Thaumatrope. You will find the directions in the book on page 14. Here is a video of a dragon thaumatrope that someone made.

Or make a Phenakistoscope.