I was extremely glad for the experience I had on our trip to The Museum of the Moving Image. The tour of their core exhibit “Behind the Screen” reveled to me the contributions of the inventors, technicians, and craftspeople who occupied the world of work behind the screen. The process of how moving images are produced, promoted, and presented was an essential thing to see as a Media Studies major.
The part of the exhibit that stood out for me was when we watched a short film called “The Great Train Robbery,” which was an example of the first motion picture used to tell a story. This was important because the earliest moving images were not narrative in nature. They were simply just studies of motion, more like a scientific look at the way people and animals move. Then people started to catch on that they could use this new technology as a means of storytelling or entertainment.
This 1903 movie had stark differences compared to the films I watch today. It had all the characteristics of an old film. It was black and white; grainy; camera was stationary with long takes; and vaudeville style acting, etc. Fortunately, as people discovered better ways to shoot film, the technology advanced into the quality we are accustomed to today. I was especially surprise to learn that in order to add color they would take the developed film and hand paint it frame by frame. This reminded me of my Medp150 class and how I used Illustrator to kind of do the same thing. But, I think I prefer the modern technology of adding color. In great ways, moving images have come so far and I feel lucky to be able to see the before and after effects at the museum.