The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge. &qu...
The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge. “Sallie Gardner,” owned by Leland Stanford; running at a 1:40 gait over the Palo Alto track, 19th June 1878 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The oldest recorded attempt at motion picture photography was made by an Englishman named Eadweard Muybridge. He was a vagabond photographer who had migrated to California. In 1872, California Governor Leland Stanford hired Muybridge to help him win a bet by proving that there were times in a horse race when all four of the animal’s feet are off the ground. Five years later, Muybridge set 24 cameras up in a row along a race track. He attached a string to each camera shutter, and stretched the strings across the track.

Muybridge chalked lines and numbers on a board behind the track to measure progress. As Stanford’s horse raced on the track, it tripped the wires and recorded 24 photographs that proved that all four of the horse’s feet were off the ground at the same time.

The camera had a long barrel that served as a lens, and a circular chamber containing a single glass photographic plate. It took Marey a second to record 12 images around the edge of the glass plate. He called his invention chronophotography. Marey recorded moving images of men running and jumping, fencers, horses trotting, gulls flying and cats falling. They were permanent records of one to two seconds of motion.


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