Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/193

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ANIMATED PICTURES.

celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The Royal procession and other imposing features of the jubilee ceremonials were duly recorded upon cinematographic films, of which fine specimens were set aside for future preservation in England's National Museum. These have been "hermetically sealed and deposited in the museum, together with a machine and lantern, by means of which they may be exhibited to future generations."

We can only strive to realize, in some dim measure, the fascination which those pictured ribbons of celluloid will exercise upon the eyes and minds of future Londoners—let us say, at some remote epoch, when the throne of Great Britain will be occupied by a monarch of whom we can form no conception, under social conditions which may differ widely from those existing at the present day.

I have thus far alluded only to the more obvious uses of this beautiful invention. But the subject, as we shall presently see, may be regarded from two very distinct points of view. On the one hand, we are concerned with the ordinary animated pictures, whose properties and functions are already known to the public; on the other, we have to deal with movements originally imperceptible to the eye, but which can be rendered visible upon a screen if the slow-moving bodies are photographed under conditions described in a subsequent part of this article. Pictures of this kind may, for convenience, be spoken of as motion views of the second type. Such pictures have not, I think, been produced up to the present time. But this aspect of the subject, though hitherto neglected (if not wholly overlooked), is deeply interesting and merits the most careful investigation. It will, accordingly, engage our especial notice, though the reader will first be led to consider in a general way the methods and principles upon which depend the production of ordinary animated photographs.

Although the kinetoscope and cinematograph are regarded as distinctively modern contrivances, it should be borne in mind that they represent only the recent development of a principle that has long been familiar to students of optical science. They are the descendants, so to speak, of more primitive forms of apparatus, among which may be specially mentioned the zoetrope and the phenakistiscope. The latter instrument—an optical toy devised by the famous French physicist Plateau—merits particular notice, since it apparently represents the first stage in that process of evolution which has led up to the elaborate motion-picture machines of the present day.

Though differing much in the details of their construction, these various machines are designed to fulfill the same general purpose—