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Cinematography (also called Direction of Photography) is the science or art of motion-picture photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as film stock.

Typically, a lens is used to repeatedly focus the light reflected from objects into real images on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a questioned exposure, creating multiple images. With an electronic image sensor, this produces an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a video file for subsequent display or processing. The result with photographic emulsion is a series of invisible latent images on the film stock, which are later chemically "developed" into a visible image. The images on the film stock are played back at a rapid speed and projected onto a screen, creating the illusion of motion. Cinematography finds uses in many fields of science and business as well as for entertainment purposes and mass communication. The word "cinematography" was created from the Greek words κίνημα (kinema), meaning "movement, motion" and γράφειν (graphein) meaning "to record", together meaning "recording motion." The word used to refer to the art, process, or job of filming movies, but later its meaning was restricted to "motion picture photography."



Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping
Muybridge sequence of a horse galloping

In the 1830s, moving images were produced on revolving drums and disks, with independent invention by Simon von Stampfer (stroboscope) in Austria, Joseph Plateau (phenakistoscope) in Belgium, and William Horner (zoetrope) in Britain.

In 1845, Francis Ronalds invented the first successful camera able to make continuous recordings of the varying indications of meteorological and geomagnetic instruments over time. The cameras were supplied to numerous observatories around the world and some remained in use until well into the 20th century.[2][3]

William Lincoln patented a device, in 1867, that showed animated pictures called the "wheel of life" or "zoopraxiscope". In it, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit.

On 19 June 1873, Eadweard Muybridge successfully photographed a horse named "Sallie Gardner" in fast motion using a series of 24 stereoscopic cameras. The cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse's, and each camera shutter was controlled by a trip wire triggered by the horse's hooves. They were 21 inches apart to cover the 20 feet taken by the horse stride, taking pictures at one thousandth of a second.[4] At the end of the decade, Muybridge had adapted sequences of his photographs to a zoopraxiscope for short, primitive projected "movies," which were sensations on his lecture tours by 1879 or 1880.

Nine years later, in 1882, French scientist Étienne-Jules Marey invented a chronophotographic gun, which was capable of taking 12 consecutive frames a second, recording all the frames of the same picture.

The late nineteenth to the early twentieth century brought rise to the use of film not only for entertainment purposes but for scientific exploration as well. French biologist and filmmaker Jean Painleve lobbied heavily for the use of film in the scientific field, as the new medium was more efficient in capturing and documenting the behavior, movement, and environment of microorganisms, cells, and bacteria, than the naked eye.[5] The introduction of film into scientific fields allowed for not only the viewing "new images and objects, such as cells and natural objects, but also the viewing of them in real time",[5] whereas prior to the invention of moving pictures, scientists and doctors alike had to rely on hand drawn sketches of human anatomy and its microorganisms. This posed a great inconvenience in the science and medical worlds. The development of film and increased usage of cameras allowed doctors and scientists to grasp a better understanding and knowledge of their projects.