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Introduction to Mass Communication

MOTION PICTURES – A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION-I:Definition

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Introduction to Mass Communication ­ MCM 101
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LESSON 25
MOTION PICTURES ­ A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION-I
The still photographs appeared frequently in the print media by the third quarter of the 19th century
and the newspersons showed extra-ordinary enthusiasm in exploiting the visual strength of images taken
through camera. The quality of images improved in the last quarter when halftone technique was
discovered.
There was hardly a world class newspaper or magazine in the last decade of the century which was not
including camera pictures to convey one truth or the other to the readers. Some of the camera work, as
discussed in the last lecture, was so strong that it had forced the American government to undertake
legislation to help people living in slums.
Not only the darker side of the life was in view of the print media, the newspapers and magazines were fully
exploiting the pictorial edge in the aesthetic sense, especially playing up female models. The trend continues
to-date and special fashion magazines are a common sight at most bookstalls. But scientists, inspired by the
still camera images, had some other ideas as well. Why not to create a sense of motion by using a series of
images. But how, was the question making them to scratch their heads. At this stage of history no one knew
what miracle in mass communication was in waiting.
Definition
Motion picture means movie-making as an art and an industry, including its production techniques,
its creative artists and the distribution and exhibition of its products.
Start in unbelievable fashion
It started with a $25,000 bet, in 1877 that was a lot of money. Edward
Muybridge, an Englishman tuned American, needed to settle a bet. Some people argued
that a galloping horse had all four feet off of the ground at the same time at some point;
others said this would be impossible. No feet touching the ground; how could that be?
The problem was that galloping hooves move too fast for the eye to see. Or, maybe,
depending on your belief, just fast enough that you could see what you wanted to. To settle the bet
definitive proof was needed.
In an effort to settle the issue once and for all an experiment was set up in which a rapid sequence of
photos was taken of a running horse. When the pictures were developed it was found that the horse did
indeed have all four feet off the ground during brief moments, thus, settling the bet. But, in doing this
experiment they found out something else -- something that becomes obvious from the illustrations below.
When a series of still photos are presented sequentially, an illusion of motion is created. That discovery
would soon make that $25,000 look like pocket change.
The series of eleven still photos shown below are presented sequentially at 0.1 second intervals to create the
appearance of continuous motion.
Later, we would give impressive names to the two factors that created this illusion of motion -- the illusion
that lies at the base of both motion pictures and television.
·  The phi phenomenon that explains why, when you view a series of slightly different still photos or
images in rapid succession, an illusion of movement is created in the transition between the images.
·  Persistence of vision, which explains why the intervals between the successive images merge into a single image
as our eyes hold one image long enough for the next one to take its place.
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Introduction to Mass Communication ­ MCM 101
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In actual fact, there is nothing moving in motion pictures. It's all an illusion based on these two phenomena.
Note in the illustration on the left that an illusion of motion is created, even when successive pictures are
presented at a relatively slow rate.
Motion picture projectors present images much faster, at 24-frames per-second, with each of those frames
flashed on the screen twice. This high speed makes the transition between images virtually invisible. So, as a
result of a $25,000 bet, the foundation for motion pictures and television was inadvertently established.
Early days
Experiments in photographing movement had been made in both the United States and Europe
during the latter half of the 19th century with, at first, no exploitation of its technical and commercial
possibilities. Serial photographs of racehorses, intended to prove that all four hooves do leave the ground
simultaneously, were obtained (1867) in California by Eadweard Muybridge and J. D. Isaacs by setting up a
row of cameras with shutters tripped by wires. The first motion pictures made with a single camera were by
E. J. Marey, a French physician, in the 1880s, in the course of his study of motion.
In 1889 Thomas Edison and his staff developed the kinetograph, a camera using rolls of coated celluloid
film, and the Kinetoscope, a device for peep-show viewing using photographs that flipped in sequence.
Marketed in 1893, the Kinetoscope gained popularity in penny arcades, and experimentation turned to ways
in which moving images might be shown to more than one person at a time. In France the Lumière
brothers created the first projection device, the Cinématographe (1895). In the United States, similar
machines, notably the Pantopticon and the Vitascope, were developed and first used in New York City in
1896.
At first the screenings formed part of variety shows and arcades, but in 1902 a Los Angeles shop that
showed only moving pictures had great success; soon "movie houses" (converted shop-rooms) sprang up
all over the country. The first movie theater, complete with luxurious accessories and a piano, was built in
Pittsburgh in 1905. A nickel was charged for admission, and the theater was called the nickelodeon. An
industry developed to produce new material and the medium's potential for expressive ends began to assert
itself.
The first American studios were centered in the New York City area. Edison had claimed the patents for
many of the technical elements involved in filmmaking and, in 1909, formed the Motion Picture Patents
Company, an attempt at monopoly that worked to keep unlicensed companies out of production and
distribution. To put distance between themselves and the Patents Company's sometimes violent tactics,
many independents moved their operations to a suburb of Los Angeles; the location's proximity to Mexico
allowed these producers to flee possible legal injunctions. After 1913 Hollywood, Calif., became the
American movie capital. At first, films were sold outright to exhibitors; later they were distributed on a
rental basis through film exchanges.
Early on, actors were not known by name, but in 1910, the "star system" came into being via promotion of
Vitagraph Co. actress Florence Lawrence, first known as The Vitagraph Girl. Other companies, noting that
this approach improved business, responded by attaching names to popular faces and "fan magazines"
quickly followed, providing plentiful, and free, publicity. Films had slowly been edging past the 20 minute
mark, but the drive to feature-length works began with the Italian "spectacle" film, of which Quo Vadis
(1913), running nine reels or about two hours, was the most influential.
Directors, including D. W. Griffith, Thomas Ince, Maurice Tourneur, J. Stuart Blackton, and Mack Sennett,
became known to audiences as purveyors of certain kinds, or "genres," of subject matter. The first
generation of star actors included Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Marie
Dressler, Lillian Gish, William S. Hart, Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Claudette Colbert, Rudolph Valentino,
Janet Gaynor, Ronald Colman, Clara Bow, Gloria Swanson, Lon Chaney, and Will Rogers. During World
War I the United States became dominant in the industry and the moving picture expanded into the realm
of education and propaganda
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Subjects in the beginning
The earliest films were used primarily to chronicle contemporary attitudes, fashions, and events,
and ran no longer than 10 minutes. At first, simple actions were filmed, then everyday scenes and, pivotally,
gag films, in which a practical joke is staged as a simple tableau. The camera was first used in a fixed
position, though soon it was pivoted, or panned, on its tripod or moved toward or away from a subject.
The medium's potential as a storytelling mechanism was realized very early in its history. The Frenchman
George Méliès created the earliest special effects and built elaborate sets specifically to tell stories of a
fantastic nature, usually as a series of tableaux. His Cinderella (1900) and A Trip to the Moon (1902) were major
innovative accomplishments. The American Edwin S. Porter demonstrated that action need not be staged
for cinema screen as for theater and early realized that scenes photographed in widely separate locales could
be cut, or edited, together yet still not be confusing to the audience. His subject matter tended toward
depictions of modern life; his Life of an American Fireman (1902) and The Great Train Robbery (1903) are among
the first works to use editing as well as acting and stagecraft to tell their stories.
Business aspect
As business increased, the demand for product was met by many new companies incorporated to
create the supply. Cooperation among the early filmmakers yielded to the demands of the marketplace, and
each company tried to secure continued success through innovations meant to distinguish its product. Out
of these efforts developed the star system, the establishment of physical plants (studios) where the films
would be made, and the organization of the filmmaking process into interlocking crafts. The crafts people
include actors, producers, cinematographers, writers, editors, and film laboratory technicians who work
interdependently in a production effort overseen and coordinated by the director.
The year 1926 brought experiments in sound effects and music, and in 1927 spoken dialogue was
successfully introduced in The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson. A year later the first all-talking picture, Lights of New
York, was shown. With the talkies new directors achieved prominence--King Vidor, Joseph Von Sternberg,
Rouben Mamoulian, Frank Capra, and John Ford.
Sound films gave a tremendous boost to the careers of some silent actors but destroyed many whose voices
were not suited to recording. Among the most celebrated stars of the new era were Clark Gable, Jean
Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, W. C. Fields, and the Marx Brothers. Also in 1927 The Motion
Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences was formed and began an annual awards ceremony. The prize, a
figurine of a man grasping a star, was later dubbed Oscar. These awards did much to confer status upon the
medium in that they asserted a definable quality of excellence analogous to literature and theater, other
media in which awards are given for excellence. The Academy Awards also offered the bonus of gathering
many stars in one place and thus attracted immediate and widespread attention. The star system blossomed:
actors were recruited from the stage as well as trained in the Hollywood studios.
From the 1930s until the early 1950s, the studios sponsored a host of talented actors, foremost among
whom were Ingrid Bergman, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Charles Laughton, Barbara
Stanwyck, William Powell, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Leslie Howard, Gary Cooper, James Stewart,
Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Edward G. Robinson, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, Judy Garland,
Bob Hope, James Mason, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly. Producers and directors such as David O. Selznick,
Darryl F. Zanuck, Mervyn LeRoy, William Wyler, George Stevens, and Billy Wilder made significant
contributions to cinematic art.
To be continued.......
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Table of Contents:
  1. MASS COMMUNICATION – AN OVERVIEW:Relationships, Power
  2. EARLY MASS COMMUNICATION AND PRINTING TECHNOLOGY
  3. SEVEN CENTURIES OF MASS COMMUNICATION – FROM PRINTING TO COMPUTER
  4. ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION AND EARLY COMMUNICATION MODELS
  5. COMMUNICATION MODELS – GRAPHIC PRESENTATION OF COMPLEX ISSUES
  6. TYPES AND FORMS OF COMMUNICATION:Inter personal, Combination
  7. MESSAGE – ROOT OF COMMUNICATION I:VERBAL MESSAGE, Static Evaluation
  8. MESSAGE – ROOT OF COMMUNICATION II:Conflicts, Brevity of Message
  9. EFFECTS OF COMMUNICATION:Helping Out Others, Relaxation
  10. COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE:Enculturation, Acculturation
  11. LANGUAGE IN COMMUNICATION:Polarization, Labeling, Static meanings
  12. STEREOTYPING – A TYPICAL HURDLE IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Stereotype Groups
  13. MASS MEDIA – HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE:Early analysis on manuscripts
  14. EMERGENCE OF PRINT MEDIA AROUND THE WORLD:Colonial journalism
  15. TELEGRAPH DOES MIRACLE IN DISTANCE COMMUNICATION TELEX AND TELEPHONE ENTHRALL PRINT COMMUNICATION
  16. TYPES OF PRINT MEDIA:Newspapers, Magazines, Books
  17. PRESS FREEDOM, LAWS AND ETHICS – NEW DEBATE RAGING STILL HARD
  18. INDUSTRIALIZATION OF PRINT PROCESSES:Lithography, Offset printing
  19. EFFECTS OF PRINT MEDIA ON SOCIETY:Economic ideas, Politics
  20. ADVERTISING – HAND IN HAND WITH MEDIA:Historical background
  21. RENAISSANCE AND SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION: ROLE OF PRINT MEDIA:Science
  22. RECAP:Elements of communication, Books, Printing, Verbal Message
  23. MEDIA MANAGEMENT:Division, Business section, Press
  24. IMAGES IN MASS COMMUNICATION – INVENTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY:Portrait photography
  25. MOTION PICTURES – A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION-I:Definition
  26. MOTION PICTURES – A NEW WAY IN MASS COMMUNICATION (Cont...):Post-Studio Era
  27. FILM MEDIA IN SUBCONTINENT AND PAKISTAN-I:Accusations of plagiarism
  28. FILM MEDIA IN SUBCONTINENT AND PAKISTAN (II) & ITS EFFECTS:First Color film
  29. PROPAGANDA:Types in another manner, Propaganda in revolutions
  30. RADIO – A BREAKTHROUGH IN MASS COMMUNICATION:What to broadcast
  31. EFFECTS OF RADIO ON SOCIETY:Entertainment, Information, Jobs
  32. TELEVISION – A NEW DIMENSION IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Early Discoveries
  33. TV IN PAKISTAN:Enthusiasm, Live Broadcast, PTV goes colored
  34. EFFECTS OF TELEVISION ON SOCIETY:Seeing is believing, Fashion
  35. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - I:History, Case Study
  36. PUBLIC RELATIONS AND MASS COMMUNICATION - II:Audience targeting
  37. ADVERTISING BEYOND PRINT MEDIA:Covert advertising
  38. IMPACT OF ADVERTISING:Trial, Continuity, Brand Switching, Market Share
  39. MEDIA THEORIES:Libertarian Theory, Social Responsibility Theory
  40. NEW MEDIA IN MASS COMMUNICATION:Technology forcing changes
  41. GLOBALIZATION OF MEDIA:Media and consumerism, Media centralization
  42. MEDIA MERGENCE:Radio, TV mergence, Economic reasons
  43. MASS MEDIA IN PRESENT AGE:Magazine, Radio, TV
  44. CRITICISM ON MEDIA:Sensationalize, Biasness, Private life, obscenity
  45. RECAP:Legends of South Asian Film Industry, Radio, Television, PTV goes colored