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Notes: The magic lantern or Laterna Magica is an early type of image projector developed in the 17th century.
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The magic lantern has a concave mirror in front of a light source that gathers light and projects it through a slide with an image scanned onto it. The light rays cross an aperture (which is an opening at the front of the apparatus), and hit a lens. The lens throws an enlarged picture of the original image from the slide onto a screen. Main light sources used during the time it was invented in the late 16th century were candles or oil lamps. These light sources were quite inefficient and produced weak projections. The invention of the Argand lamp in the 1790s helped to make the projected images brighter. The invention of the limelight in the 1820s made it even brighter, and following that the inventions of the electric arc lamp in the 1860s, and then incandescent electric lamps all further improved the projected image of the magic lantern. It was also an important invention for the motion picture film and 45mm projector because of its ability to screen moving images. To achieve this, mechanical slides were used to make the images move. This was done using two glass slides, one with the part of the picture that would remain stationary and one with the part of the picture that would move on a disc. The glass slides were placed one on top of the other in an orderly fashion and a hand-operated pulley wheel was used to turn the movable disc. The magic lantern also led directly to Eadweard Muybridge's invention of the zoopraxiscope, which was another forerunner for moving pictures.
There has been some debate about who the original inventor of the magic lantern is, but the most widely accepted theory is that Christiaan Huygens developed the original device in the late 1650s.
In the fifteenth century, however, Giovanni Fontana, a Venetian engineer, had already created a lantern that projected an image of a demon. And other sources give credit to the German priest Athanasius Kircher. He describes a device such as the magic lantern in his book Ars Magna Lucis et Umbrae.
There are possible mentions of this device associated with Kircher as early as 1646. Even in its earliest use, it was demonstrated with monstrous images such as the Devil.Huygens's device was even referred to as the "lantern of fright" because it was able to project spooky images that looked like apparitions.
In its early development, it was mostly used by magicians and conjurers to project images, making them appear or disappear, transform from one scene into a different scene, animate normally inanimate objects, or even create the belief of bringing the dead back to life.
In the 1660s, a man named Thomas Walgensten used his so-called "lantern of fear" to summon ghosts. These misuses of this early machine were not uncommon. In fact, a common setup of the machine was to keep parts of the projector in a separate, adjoining room with only the aperture visible, to make it seem more magical and scare people. By the 18th century, use by charlatans was common for religious reasons. For example, Count Cagliostro used it to "raise dead spirits" in Egyptian masonry. Johann Georg Schröpfer of Leipzig used the magic lantern to conjure up images of spirits on smoke. Schröpfer later went insane, thinking he was pursued by real devils, and shot himself after promising an audience he would later resurrect himself.
The later part of the 18th century was the age of Romanticism and the Gothic novel. There was an obsession with the bizarre and the supernatural. Johann Georg Schröpfer began using the magic lantern in séances, before Paul Philidor refined the techniques. In these shows, the illusionists used the magic lantern to trick people into thinking that they had summoned up spirits of revolutionary figures with the lantern mounted on a trolley. They also summoned ghosts by requests. However, Philidor's show was eventually closed by the authorities due to their paranoia. The audiences of these magic lantern shows reacted to the projections with bewilderment. They thought the projections were real dreams, visions, apparitions and ghosts, and the devil. This was just fueled by the fact that this is exactly what the early conjurers and magicians used them for: scaring people using these ghostly images. The next famous conjurer to utilize the magic lantern was Etienne-Gaspard Robert.
He was a Belgian inventor with an interest in magic. He held his first "fantasmagorie" at Pavillon de l'Echiquier in Paris. He began experimenting in the 1780s with techniques used to make phantasmagorias, which is basically the use of the magic lantern to conjure up supernatural images such as the devil, phantoms, or ghosts. If the images were projected onto a gauze screen, they would even seem to be floating in air, making the stunt even more believable-looking. At Pavillon de l'Echiquier, Robertson set up a public phantasmagoria and told the audience he would conjure up their dead relatives. He made a big show out of it and conjured up an image of a phantom with a dagger, and then pictures of the dead relatives. After this show, he continued to make other, bigger, more outrageous spectacles. He put the magic lantern onto wheels and patented this under the name of 'fantascope'. He eventually moved his work to a theater, where he built up a show to a big finale in which big shapes moved around the otherwise dark theater. Robertson also used mechanical slides to make his images move. There is a small collection of transparencies at Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris which shows a two-piece slide he used with one glass showing the face of a phantom and the other which had the image of the eyes, which when used meant the eyes could roll back and forth. Also, Robertson used multiple lanterns to project both a moving figure as well as a background for that figure. For example, a stationary projector in the front would have projected an image of a church courtyard while a moving projector from behind would project the image of the phantom The Bleeding Nun, an image which came from the novel The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis. His shows were extremely successful. The popularity increased and eventually this phenomenon moved to England. Many observers have been quoted saying these "ghosts" were very realistic, which is partly due to people's eyes not being trained to the phenomenon of photography and cinematography like ours today are.
Phantasmagoria ( American pronunciation (help·info), also fantasmagorie, fantasmagoria) was a form of theatre which used a modified magic lantern to project frightening images such as skeletons, demons, and ghosts onto walls, smoke, or semi-transparent screens, frequently using rear projection. The projector was mobile, allowing the projected image to move and change size on the screen, and multiple projecting devices allowed for quick switching of different images. Invented in France in the late 18th century, it gained popularity through most of Europe (especially England) throughout the 19th century.
The magic lantern has been credited to both Athanasius Kircher and Christiaan Huygens in the early to mid-17th century, respectively. Kircher's device consisted of a lantern with a candle and concave mirror inside. A tube was fitted into the side of the lantern and held convex lenses at either end. Near the center of the tube, a glass slide of the image to be projected was held. Huygens' magic lantern has been described as the predecessor of today's slide projector and the forerunner of the motion picture projector. Images were hand painted onto the glass slide until the mid-19th century when photographic slides were employed. Though Huygens' magic lantern was often used for amusement by projecting quaint and pastoral imagery, phantoms, devils, and other macabre objects were also sometimes projected, thus giving rise to phantasmagoria.In the mid-18th century, in Leipzig, Germany, a coffee shop owner named Johann Georg Schröpfer began offering séances in a converted billiards room which became so popular that by the 1760s he had transformed himself into a full-time showman, using elaborate effects including projections of ghosts to create a convincing spirit experience. In 1774, he committed suicide, apparently a victim of delusions of his own apparitions.Versailles was home to several significant developments in this field. In the 1770s François Seraphin used magic lanterns to perform his "Ombres Chinoises" (Chinese shadows), a form of shadow play, and Edme-Gilles Guyot experimented with the projection of ghosts onto smoke.Paul Philidor created what may have been the first true phantasmagoria show in 1722, a combination of séance parlor tricks and projection effects, his show saw success in Berlin, Vienna, and revolution-era Paris in 1793. These last decades of the 18th century saw the rise of the age of Romanticism. This movement had elements of the bizarre and irrational, and included the rise of the Gothic novel which often centered on mystery and the psychology of its characters. The popular interest in such topics explained the rise and, more specifically, the success of phantasmagoria for the productions to come.Étienne-Gaspard "Robertson" Robert, a Belgian inventor and physicist from Liège was known for his phantasmagoria productions and is the most imitated. In 1797, Robertson presented his first "fantasmagorie" at the Pavillon de l'Echiquier in Paris. The macabre atmosphere in the post-revolutionary city was perfect for Robertson's Gothic extravaganza complete with elaborate creations and Radcliffean décor.After discovering that he could put the magic lantern on wheels to create either a moving image or one that increased and decreased in size, Robertson moved his show. In an abandoned crypt of a Capuchin convent near the Place Vendôme, he staged hauntings, using several lanterns, special sound effects and the eerie atmosphere of the tomb. This show lasted for six years, mainly because of the appeal of the supernatural to Parisians who were dealing with the upheavals as a result of the French Revolution. Robertson mainly used images surrounded by black in order to create the illusion of free-floating ghosts. However, he also would use multiple projectors, set up in different locations throughout the venue, in order to place the ghosts in environments. For instance, one of his first phantasmagoria shows displayed a lightning-filled sky with both ghosts and skeletons receding and approaching the audience. In order to add to the horror, Robertson and his assistants would sometimes create voices for the phantoms. Often, the audience forgot that these were tricks and were completely terrified:" I am only satisfied if my spectators, shivering and shuddering, raise their hands or cover their eyes out of fear of ghosts and devils dashing towards them. "In fact, many people were so convinced of the reality of his shows that police temporarily halted the proceedings, believing that Robertson had the power to bring Louis XVI back to life. Once the show was back, Robertson was exposed to the law again, this time in the form of a lawsuit against his former assistants who had started their own phantasmagoria shows using his techniques. It was this lawsuit in 1799 in which Robertson was required to reveal his secrets to the public and magic lantern shows popped up across Europe and in the United States shortly after, though many were not as elaborate as Robertson's.In 1801 a phantasmagoria production by Paul Philidor opened in London's Lyceum Theatre in the Strand, where it became a smash hit. While he had previously been a showman, by this time Philidor had decided to no longer attempt to fool the audience members into believing that the apparitions were real. In an opening speech, Philidor would make it clear that these phantasmagoric images are purely for entertainment. This was in keeping with the growth of the fascination with science at the time. In fact, many of the phantasmagoria showmen were a combination of scientists and magicians, many of them stressing that the effects that they produced, no matter how eerily convincing, were in fact the result of ingenious equipment and no small measure of skill, rather than any supernatural explanation. This even extended as far as the exhibitions at the Royal Polytechnic Institution demonstrating the "Pepper's ghost" effect in the 1860s.Phantasmagoria came to the United States in May 1803 at Mount Vernon Garden, New York. Much like the French Revolution sparked interest in phantasmagoria in France, the expanding frontier in the United States made for an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear that was ideal for phantasmagoria shows. Many others created phantasmagoria shows in the United States over the next couple of years, including Martin Aubée, one of Robertson's former assistants. By the 1840s, phantasmagoria became outmoded, though the use of projections was still employed, just in different realms:" ...although the phantasmagoria was an essentially live form of entertainment these shows also used projectors in ways which anticipated 20th century film-camera movements - the 'zoom', 'dissolve', the 'tracking-shot' and superimposition.
Before the rise of phantasmagoria, interest in the fantastic was apparent in ghost stories. This can be seen in the many examples of ghost stories printed in the 18th century, including "Admiral Vernon's ghost; being a full true and particular Account as how a Warlike apparition appeared last Week to the Author, Clad all in Scarlet, And discoursed to him concerning the Present State of Affairs." In this tale, the author's reaction to the ghost he sees is much like that of the audience members at the phantasmagoria shows. He says that he is "thunderstruck," and that "astonishment seized me. My bones shivered within me. My flesh trembled over me. My lips quaked. My mouth opened. My hands expanded. My knees knocked together. My blood grew chilly, and I froze with terror."Early stop trick films, developed by Georges Méliès most clearly parallel the early forms of phantasmagoria. Trick films include transformations, superimpositions, disappearances, rear projections, and the frequent appearance of ghosts and apparent decapitations. Modern day horror films often take up many of the techniques and motifs of stop trick films, and phantasmagoria is said to have survived in this new form.Phantasmagoria is also the title of a poem in seven cantos by Lewis Carroll that was published by Macmillan & Sons in London in 1869, about which Carroll had much to say. He preferred that the title of the volume be found at the back, saying in a correspondence with Macmillan, "it is picturesque and fantastic-but that is about the only thing I like..." He also wished that the volume would cost less, thinking that the 6 shillings was about 1 shilling too much to charge.
The praxinoscope was an animation device, the successor to the zoetrope. It was invented in France in 1877 by Charles-Émile Reynaud. Like the zoetrope, it used a strip of pictures placed around the inner surface of a spinning cylinder. The praxinoscope improved on the zoetrope by replacing its narrow viewing slits with an inner circle of mirrors, placed so that the reflections of the pictures appeared more or less stationary in position as the wheel turned. Someone looking in the mirrors would therefore see a rapid succession of images producing the illusion of motion, with a brighter and less distorted picture than the zoetrope offered.
In 1889 Reynaud developed the Théâtre Optique, an improved version capable of projecting images on a screen from a longer roll of pictures. This allowed him to show hand-drawn animated cartoons to larger audiences, but it was soon eclipsed in popularity by the photographic film projector of the Lumière brothers.
The phenakistoscope (also spelled phenakistiscope or phenakitiscope) was an early animation device that used the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion.
Although this principle had been recognized by the Greek mathematician Euclid and later in experiments by Newton, it was not until 1829 that this principle became firmly established by the Belgian Joseph Plateau. Plateau planned it in 1829 and invented it in 1832. Later the same year the Austrian Simon von Stampfer invented the stroboscopic disk, a similar machine. A contemporary edition of Britannica says "The phenakistoscope or magic disc...was originally invented by Dr. Roget, and improved by M. Plateau, at Brussels, and Dr. Faraday."
The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc's center was a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it was a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc's reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.A variant of it had two discs, one with slits and one with pictures; this was slightly more unwieldy but needed no mirror. Unlike the zoetrope and its successors, the phenakistoscope could only practically be used by one person at a time. The phenakistoscope was only famous for about two years due to the changing of technology.
A thaumatrope is a toy that was popular in Victorian times. A disk or card with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to combine into a single image due to persistence of vision.The invention of the thaumatrope is usually credited to either John Ayrton Paris or Peter Mark Roget. Paris used one to demonstrate persistence of vision to the Royal College of Physicians in London in 1824. He based his invention on ideas of the astronomer John Herschel and the geologist William Henry Fitton, and some sources attribute the actual invention to Fitton rather than Paris. Others claim that Charles Babbage was the inventor.In 2012, it was reported that a prehistoric thaumatrope had been dicovered in caves in France.Examples of common thaumatrope pictures include a bare tree on one side of the disk, and its leaves on the other, or a bird on one side and a cage on the other. They often also included riddles or short poems, with one line on each side.Thaumatropes were one of a number of simple, mechanical optical toys that used persistence of vision. They are recognised as important antecedents of cinematography and in particular of animation.The coined name translates roughly as "wonder turner", from Ancient Greek: θαῦμα "wonder" and τρόπος "turn".
The zoopraxiscope is an early device for displaying motion pictures. Created by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge in 1879, it may be considered the first movie projector. The zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion. The stop-motion images were initially painted onto the glass, as silhouettes. A second series of discs, made in 1892-94, used outline drawings printed onto the discs photographically, then colored by hand. Some of the animated images are very complex, featuring multiple combinations of sequences of animal and human movement.The device appears to have been one of the primary inspirations for Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson's Kinetoscope, the first commercial film exhibition system. Images from all of the known seventy-one surviving zoopraxiscope discs have recently been reproduced in the book Eadweard Muybridge: The Kingston Museum Bequest (The Projection Box, 2004).