European film history begun as early as the nineteenth century, but most of the motion pictures of the early nineteenth century were silent. As the years have passed, the film industry has been experiencing massive changes and progression. However, there is one significant point in the European film history that many filmmakers refer to as the silent era. People believe that, in the early twentieth century, filmmakers were not making motion pictures for sound; instead, they were creating to enjoy and entertain audience. According to the history, European film industry witnessed many inventions in this era. In the early twentieth century, one of the most significant inventions in European film industry was film continuity.
Although the process had started earlier, George Albert Smith and James Williamson were the first to establish film with successive shorts of continuity in one screen. The two were working in Brighton where they were working on most of these inventions. In the case, the two started to shoot the successive motion pictures with the use of narrative skills. The first film the two created was called ‘As Seen through a Telescope.’ This movie tells the story of an old man who was watching through a telescope a young man who was putting another woman her shoes. According to the European film historical analysts, this was a significant break through in the film industry. According to Warwick, Smith became a partner of his, and they were considering him as Warwick’s Manager due to greater importance of his inventions.
After the invention of film continuity in the early nineteenth century, other inventions came into light. At the same time, Smith also invented a motion picture that could capture different angles of a scene. In this way, viewers became able to enjoy watching a movie from different perspectives and understand what was happening behind the scenes. Therefore, they could watch the parts they had not been able to see while watching the film earlier. This invention was also fascinating because many companies in Europe were adopting Smith’s technique to produce acclaimed motion pictures and attract viewers to watch their performances. According to European film industry, film theatres were experiencing massive popularity, at the time. This led to a significant increase in number of viewers across the world, in different cinema halls.
The other invention that was accompanying film continuity was the creation of different sceneries in a film. In the past, motion films were showing only one part of a story. In the case, viewers were able to enjoy only one scene where the main story of the film unfolded. Smith was the first to discover that it was possible and even preferable to show different backgrounds or sceneries in a film as they were presenting a story in consideration of continuity. This invention meant that filmmakers could be able to develop a film that was continuing and had many types of scenery to make the viewers enjoy the film. An excellent example of application of this invention was Williamson’s film ‘Stop Thief’ and ‘Fire.’ This invention was referred to as ‘film chasers’ by many of the filmmakers. Many people received an ability to enjoy the films in a quite new way. For this reason, to promote their films, filmmakers were adopting this technique actively across the globe, including China.
In addition, at the beginning of the twentieth century, other special effects were invented, after the invention of film continuity. The first special effect was the discovery of reverse films. Under this technique, once the film was completed, the filmmakers were attaching a negative film to create a unique effect and show viewers a reverse action of what was happening. An excellent example of such film is ‘The House that Jack Build’ that was shot by Smith, in 1901. In this film, viewers can see that a girl has finished building a castle, and a boy comes and kicks it destroying the house. Immediately after the scene, the viewers are able to see the reverse of the film shooting where the house rebuilds by itself. In this case, viewers were enjoying themselves and the technique proved to be an effective instrument of attracting a new audience.
The other special effect to be discovered in the film industry was speed effect, where the filmmakers were trying to show the viewers the reality of a motion picture. This effect was discovered, in around 1900. For instance, filmmakers were trying to show the viewers how fast vehicles move in a film or how fast a person is running. This was a great success and move forward because it brought the element of speed to the film industry. For this purpose, filmmakers were slowing down the frames making the pictures in the film move at an increasing paste showing real speed. On the other hand, other filmmakers were using this technique to create slow motion pictures. In this situation, they were increasing the speed of frames so that they could be able to create slow motions for the viewers. This made it easy for the viewers to see those scenes that were a bit fast for the naked eye to see. The invention of this special effect has made a significant change in the film industry, and it is still applicable event in modern films.
Invention of the film continuity is one of the most significant inventions in European film history because it led to the creation of numerous other inventions causing the increase in recognition of theatres by the viewers. Therefore, in 1900, invention of film continuity led to the invention of other special effects, like speed effect and the reversal effect, that were applied in the movie industry even today.