HowStuffWorks - History

August 29, 2013 – 10:09

by Jeff Tyson - translated by HowStuffWorks Brazil

The film, short for Cinemascope, has existed for over a century. It works because of persistence of vision, the fact that the human eye retain an image for about one-twentieth of a second after seeing it. In the early 19th century, several devices began to appear using the persistence of vision to create the illusion of moving stills. The zoetrope, invented by William George Horner in 1834, is an instrument based on a series of images on a strip of paper arranged in a rotating drum. This comb had small holes where you could look to see the figures. In the case of a particular type of call praxinoscope zoetrope, a comb was mirrored in the middle, allowing see Figures looking over the equipment. The figures in the magazine changed a bit from one to another. Turning this comb was possible to make the figures rotate fast enough to fool your eyes and see the picture moving. These figures were always a repetitive motion, such as a person walking or dancing, because this movement could be rolled easily. In a coiled strip figures, the last picture in the series was almost equal to the first, so that the image would create a single cycle simulated moving, which could be infinitely repeated to produce the illusion of continuous motion.

Courtesy of The Wileman Collection located on the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Here are some of the oldest inventions: top-down, one zoetrope strips, used figures in a zoetrope and praxinoscope

The early cinema projectors, such as the magic lantern, appeared in late 1600, but had only still images. Some of the first projectors to moving images were simply zoétropos modified. Creative people wore transparent straps on the comb and put a light source, usually a flashlight in the middle of the box, and can thus project the image through a small hole or opening on a white wall or a piece of white cloth stretched. Obviously, this equipment was very limited. Were operated by hand and used the same type of animation circle or photos as the original zoetrope.

Figures online within the comb of a zoetrope

Everything has changed since Thomas Edison invented the Kinetoscope in 1891. He used a motor to move a film strip in front of a light source. The light source projected the image of the movie on a screen in a booth. When it became obvious that people would pay for this kind of entertainment, many inventors started designing variations of Edison's invention. One of those changes manually operated, the kinora, was invented by the Lumière brothers, and was very successful in the 30s.

They created a cinematographer in 1895. This handset was a camera, film processor laboratory and projector in one package! The brothers traveled the French countryside making films that lasted at most a few minutes. Then they processed and projected the film on site! The following year vitascope (which was another variation of the Kinetoscope) began a new era of entertainment. The Kinetoscope vitascope functioned as a basic, but with an important difference: the image was projected on a large screen in a room and not on a small screen in a booth. Thus began the race to develop the first film, Nickelodeon in Pittsburgh, PA.

Courtesy of The Wileman Collectionlocated on the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics


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There are two kinds of "overhead projectors"

Opaque and transparency.
The opaque is probably what you are thinking of. The ones schools use are quite large boxes (I used one at Theatre/Theater and Bindlestiff Studios to create billboards for productions)
There are smaller ones like the Artograph I got from Pearl that only handle 7x7 inch images.
I haven't been able to find the old-fashioned box-monsters online. All I can find are the modern compacts like the Buhl Mark IV Opus. A thousand dollars! Argh!
Try eBay and Google looking for Opaque Overhead Projector. Your local library may even rent them.
Hope this helps.

Can you hear me now?  — Computerworld
It's more than usually confusing because he's using the overhead projector while sitting at right angles to the screen, because that's how the PC, keyboard and monitor are placed, so he really doesn't need any extra distractions.

Lubbock artist sculpts roadrunner for UTSA  — MYfoxLUBBOCK.COM
He started by taking a picture of a road runner in his front yard. "I took a picture of a road runner. Had it blown up to twelve inches tall and two foot long. And put it on an overhead projector and threw it on the wall.

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  • Avatar Mommy of 2) Where can I find a projector for rent for my project? Not a movie projector.?
    Jul 17, 2008 by Mommy of 2) | Posted in Painting

    Like the ones they use in school that you put an image on and it shows it on the wall. NOT A MOVIE PROJECTOR. You think a library might have one??
    I want to paint a mural on my sons wall. I have found murals you can buy online and the one I like is 700 dollers. I printed in on a transparancy and tried to use a a lamp but that doesn't work..

    • You might be able to rent one from a business center. I have rented them for hotel conferences many years ago.
      Another option is to enlarge the image you have using the grid system. Draw grid lines in the original …transfer the image, drawing the shapes in each square. For example a 1/2 inch square on the orignal, would be a 6 inch square on the wall. That's the way a professional muralist would do it. That's the way I would do it.

  • Avatar gason2 Recommend a HD tuner for my Projector?
    Sep 01, 2009 by gason2 | Posted in Home Theater

    I am looking into getting one of these three 720P DLP Projectors and I will need to upgrade my tuner to handle HD. First off, which of these two projectors would you go with? Would you recommend another? I'm not ready … projection tv to an overhead projector? Thanks.
    The reason I'd rather not get 1080P; more $, I'd have to buy a pricey blueray player plus blueray discs and I'd also have to upgrade my dish to HD which is too much

    • I have the Samsung DTB-H260F, works great using HDMI output to my projector:
      not get the 1080p Optoma HD20? In stock at Amazon, free shipping:
      have a 720p projector, which works well, but I will be upgrading to a 1080p soon. Twice the pixels makes a huge difference, especially if you have a big screen.