The other day, I posted the third in a series of blogs about stop-motion animation and, as with all in the series, the reaction was great. Thanks. A good friend of mine asked if I had any information on the earliest films and, as a matter of fact, I do.

First up today is a short video of the earliest surviving film and sound recordings. They are all from 1888. These aren’t all that interesting as entertainment, but I find them more than fascinating to see a glimpse of life from more than 125 years ago. I especially like the traffic scene. The films are preserved on video and the back track is the earliest surviving recorded music.

There are two main pieces of footage thanks to video and video production for allowing these works to survive. Here are the dates and places of these antiques:

Earliest surviving recorded music: Handel Israel in Egypt
(Crystal Palace London, 29, June 1888)

Earliest surviving film: Roundhay Garden Scene
(Leeds, England, 14 October 1888)

Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge
(Leeds, England, late October 1888)

Let’s check out the first and, as of now, oldest remaining film in human history. To give you and idea about the time frame we are talking about here, in 1888, the year of the earliest surviving recording of music and earliest recorded film; German Emperor William I died that year; Famous American author of the classic, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott died of a stroke at age 55.  Mary Ann Nichols was the first victim of the dreaded Jack the Ripper soon followed by Catherine Eddowes and Elizabeth Stride. They were the first three of at least five murders by unidentified serial killer, or killers, Jack the Ripper.

Thanks to Edwardian Piano for the details:

Also on this video is the earliest surviving recording of music known today which is a performance of Handel’s oratorio Israel in Egypt conducted by Sir August Manns recorded by an Edison engineer named George E. Gouraud at Crystal Palace, London, England, 29th June 1888. Also we have the earliest surviving recorded film. This was shot by Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince in Leeds, England in October 1888. Also, there is the Roundhay Garden Scene that was filmed 14 October 1888 and the Traffic Crossing at Leeds Bridge that was filmed in late October 1888. The Roundhay Garden Scene was filmed in the garden of the Whitley family home in Oakwood Grange Road, Roundhay, Leeds, England… “Starring,” from the left at beginning of scene: Adolphe Le Prince (the film maker’s son), Miss Harriet Hartley, Mrs. Sarah Whitley, (the film maker’s mother-in-law), and Joseph Whitley (the film maker’s business partner). The original film was shot at 12 frames per second for a 2 second duration. The Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge was filmed at 20 frames per second in Leeds, England in late October 1888.

Earliest surviving film and sound recording 1888. (If that video doesn’t play, copy and paste this link into your browser:

Next up we have two brothers who are considered by historians the first film makers in history: The Lumière brothers. They patented what was called the “cinematograph.” Some people consider Edison’s Kinetoscope “Peepshow” to be one of the first “motion pictures” in history, but the Kinetoscope could only allow one person at a time to view the “movie.” The “cinematograph” allowed several people to watch simultaneously. Their first film entitled, “Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon,” was shot in 1894 and is considered to be the first true motion picture.

Here is a short 6 minute film showing some of their earliest shoots. Keep watching it, there’s all sorts of scenes. There’s several scenes of people leaving some sort of gathering, a group of men (notice that ALL the men wear straw hats – they say that back in those days, if you didn’t wear a hat, you weren’t dressed to go outside!) Then there’s a family with a baby; a group of gentlemen playing cards and much more. There really isn’t any story, but I enjoy seeing the way they dressed and lived. I also enjoy imagining the lives they lead. I wonder if their lives were so different from the lives we lead today?

The Lumiere Brothers’ – First films (1895) (If that video doesn’t play, copy and paste this link into your browser:

I really do enjoy seeing these people from so many years ago.Like I wrote, I like to imagine who they were and where they were going. Were they happy? Are they so different from us? I suspect not.

I hope you enjoyed today’s time travel to the past. If you are interested in this sort of thing or would like for me to research more obscure films, videos, productions from days gone by, give me an email. I’m happy to find this sort of thing for your (and for my) enjoyment.

Until next week, see you and have a great weekend!

If animations are more fun for you, try these links out:

Need a Break? Watch These Three Fantastic Short Animations! (

More Exciting (and Bizarre) Animations! (

More exciting and bizarre animations

At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses, services and products. But we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. Our starting price is ¥70,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget.  Contact us!

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