As we sit down in our gigantic IMAX cinemas to watch the latest CGI-driven Hollywood blockbuster, it never ceases to amaze how far we've come since the early days of filmmaking. In 120 years of development, it's easy to lose sight of quite how the form has matured, and of course, whittling down the list of watershed innovations to a mere 10 is no easy feat. Nevertheless, watching films today compared to the very early film tests of, for example, people sneezing, it's staggering what a combination of artistic and technical ambition has allowed the creation of. We may take it for granted these days, but imagine what Edison and his contemporaries would think of modern cinema; it would literally blow their minds. With that in mind, let's trace the journey of cinema from its inception to today - here are 10 innovations that changed cinema forever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7cF0nw5S-g If we take for granted that cameras had been invented that were capable of capturing film images, then the next key step of progression was in managing to record synchronous sound at the same time. We're all familiar with the silent film era, characterised by hilariously over-the-top performances and intertitles to convey what sound usually would, but the ability to simultaneously record images and synchronised sound really broke open the potential of the medium. 1914's The Photo-Drama of Creation (viewable above) was the first successful effort, though things really began to take off with 1927's The Jazz Singer, which featured a far more complex aural arrangement, encompassing singing, sound effects and a score to boot. Sound naturally changed the way that films were made; screenwriters now had to put more effort into the dialogue, actors had to tone down their performances (reportedly much to the chagrin of Charlie Chaplin above all others), and simply, story began to take an equal if not greater importance compared to the look of the film.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.