• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.


The Lumière Brothers

Page history last edited by William Palm 11 years, 11 months ago



The Lumière brothers were born in Besançon, France, in 1862 and 1864, and moved to Lyon in 1870. This is where they spent most of their lives and where their father ran a photographic firm. The brothers worked there starting at a young age but never started experimenting with moving film until after their father had died in 1892.d


The brothers worked on their new film projects for years, Auguste making the first experiments. Their aim was to overcome the limitations and problems, as they saw them, of Edison’s peephole Kinetoscope. They identified two main problems with Edison’s device: firstly its bulk - the Kinetograph - the camera, was a colossal piece of machinery and its weight and size resigned it to the studio. Secondly, the nature of the kinetoscope, the viewer, meant that only one person could experience the films at a time.

By early 1895, the brothers had invented their own device combining camera with printer and projector and called it the Cinématographe. Patenting it on February 13th 1895, the Cinématographe was much smaller than Edison’s Kinetoscope, was lightweight (around five kilograms), and was hand cranked. The Lumières used a film speed of 16 frames per second, much slower compared with Edison’s 48 fps - this meant that less film was used an also the clatter and grinding associated with Edison’s device was reduced.

Perhaps most important was Louis’s decision to incorporate the principle of intermittent movement using a device similar to that found in sewing machines. This was something Edison had rejected as he struggled to perfect projection using continuous movement. The brothers kept their new invention a closely guarded secret with Auguste organising private screenings to invited guest only.

On March 22, 1895, their first public screening of films at which admission was charged was held on December 28, 1895, at Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. This history-making presentation featured ten short films, including their first film, Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). Each film is 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, runs approximately 50 seconds. These films would were the first of their kind, for being projected so an audience could see the action, as many film fanatics feel it ought to be seen.


The Lumière brothers had a fantastically large affect of the future of film. They are often given the name of the fathers of film making. Their films impacted the ideas of using film to express stories starting with very simplistic films less than a minute long.

To see examples of the Lumière brothers work in film. Click here.






Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.