When you think of film you think of Netflix, LA, Hollywood and other such words. What you don’t think of is Leeds. So you’d be surprised to learn that West Yorkshire city was where the ‘first film ever made’. Yes, right here in God’s Own Country!
Before we had other Yorkshire legends like Sean Bean grace ours screens, there were other smaller leaps that had to be made. We take for granted how easy it is to watch or even film things these days but film has only really been around for 150 years or so. So, it is quite amazing to think that after all the breakthroughs we’ve seen over the years that the first-ever video was made right in our own back garden.
What was the first film recorded?
The oldest surviving film in existence is the ‘Roundhay Garden Scene’. Filmed back in 14th October, 1888, it is a silent short 2-second clip that was filmed at the Whitely Family House in Oakwood Grange Road, Roundhay in Leeds.
Recorded by French inventor, Louis Le Prince, who wanted to ‘stake his claim’ on some of the earliest technology, the clip records four people dancing and walking. It doesn’t seem significant now, but these small leaps led to the power we hold in our hands today.
The actors in the short clip are Adolphe Le Prince (Le Prince’s son), Mrs Sarah Whitley, (Le Prince’s mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley and Miss Harriet Hartley. The ‘actors’ are shown walking around in circles, laughing to themselves.
Another first for the film
Sarah Whitley died ten days after the scene was taken. She was the earliest known born person ever to appear in a film, and also the first known person who had appeared in a film to die.
How was it made?
It is the first film ever made as all previous attempts up to then were just a series of photographs. It lasts for less than 2 seconds and includes 24 frames. It uses a single-lens camera and Eastman Kodak’s paper-based photographic film.
Watch the short clip filmed in Roundhay in 1888 below: