The first 20 years of motion picture history had more in common with You Tube than Star Wars.The early films were often under a minute long and seldom over ten minutes. They featured animals, people kissing, people doing menial tasks—or just someone sneezing. Film was more of a novelty than business or an art form.
Like many You Tube producers the early filmmakers often were the director, the cameraman, the writer (if anything was written), the editor, and even the talent. The early movies were silent and black and white films (with occasional tinting). The earliest film scenes were a static one shot, but between 1895-1908 film shooting, editing and storytelling began to become more complex. Like You Tube the quality was all over the place, and like You Tube some filmmakers gathered a following.
And thankfully because of You Tube you can get a sweeping overview of film history in a little over 30 minutes.
Multiple still photographs of galloping horse (1878), Eadweard Muybridge
Fred Ott’s Sneaze (1884),William K.L. Dickson
Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory (1895) Louis Lumiere
The Kiss (1896), William Helse
A Trip to the Moon (1902), Georges Melies
The Great Train Robbery (1903), Edwin S. Porter
Life of an American Fireman (1903), Edwin S. Porter
Resuced by Rover (1905), Cecil Hepworth
The Black Hand (1906), Billy Bitzer
The first film made in Hollywood was In Old California (1910), a 17-minute film directed by D.W. Griffith. Charlie Chaplin called Griffith “The teacher of us all”— more on that giant of a filmmaker on Monday.