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Birt Acres (23 July 1854 – 27 December 1918) was an American and British photographer and film pioneer. Among his contributions to the early film industry are the first working 35 mm camera in Britain (Wales), and Birtac, the first daylight loading home movie camera and projector. He also directed a number of early silent films.
23 July 1854|
Richmond, Virginia, United States
27 December 1918 (aged 64)|
Whitechapel, London, England
Acres invented the first British 35 mm moving picture camera, the first daylight loading home movie camera and projector, Birtac, was the first travelling newsreel reporter in international film history and the first European film maker who had his films shown in the United States in public performances. He contributed much to the introduction and development of cinematography in all its aspects, from the construction of cameras, projectors, film viewers, coating- and slitting machines and the manufacture of highly sensitized 35 mm raw film stock, to mobile newsreel reporting and the public projections of moving pictures.
With his partner Robert W. Paul, he was the first person to build and run a working 35 mm camera in Britain. Incident at Clovelly Cottage was made in March 1895 and featured Acres' wife with their infant son in a pram outside Acres' then home of Clovelly Cottage, Park Road, Chipping Barnet, which still exists. Acres and Paul fell out after Acres patented their design in his own name on 27 May 1895. He made some very early silent films during the Victorian era including in 1895: a film of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, The Arrest of a Pickpocket, The Comic Shoeblack, The Boxing Kangaroo and Performing Bears.
On 10 January 1896, he gave a display of moving pictures to the Lyonsdown Photographic Society at the Lytton Road Assembly Rooms in New Barnet. This was the first public film show to an audience in the United Kingdom.
Acres was a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. On 14 January 1896, he demonstrated his Kineopticon system to members and wives of the Society, at the Queen's Hall in London. Robert Paul's first solo theatrical programme was at the Alhambra Theatre on 25 March 1896.
Most important achievementsEdit
- 1889 Apparatus for washing prints (patented).
- 1891 Printing process for stereoscopic photographs (for continuously contact print making) (patented).
- 1893 Hopper feed installation for rapidly projecting slides in a biunial (two-in-one) lantern to create the illusion of movement (patented).
- 1895 Kinetic Camera with appliance for loop forming (patented).
- 1895/96 Electroscope, apparatus for continuous viewing by more than one spectator of 35mm film.
- 1896 Installation for wholesale production of raw stock 35 mm film.
- 1896 Kineopticon, improved apparatus for projecting 35 mm film (patented).
- 1897 Cine camera with 2 lenses to resolve flicker problems and to enhance brightness.
- 1898 Birtac, home movie camera for daylight loading of 17,5 mm film (patented).
|1895||Incident at Clovelly Cottage||Director||"the first successful motion picture film made in Britain"|
|1895||The Arrest of a Pickpocket||Director|
|1895||Charge of the Uhlans||Director, Producer|
|1895||Crude Set Drama||Director, Producer|
|1895||The Derby||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||The German Emperor Reviewing His Troops||Director||aka Kaiser Wilhelm Reviewing His Troops (USA)|
|1895||Opening of the Kiel Canal||Director, Cinematographer, Producer||aka Inauguration of the Kiel Canal by Kaiser Wilhelm II (UK)|
|1895||The Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Performing Animals; or, Skipping Dogs||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Rough Sea at Dover||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Shoeblack at Work in a London Street||Director|
|1895||Smith and Machinery at Work||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Tom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist||Director, Cinematographer, Producer||aka Tom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist, Sketching Kaiser Wilhelm II (four films were made of Tom Merry drawing notable figures, the others were Lord Salisbury (1896), William Ewart Gladstone (1896) and Bismarck (1895))|
|1896||The Boxing Kangaroo||Director|
|1896||Boxing Match; or, Glove Contest||Director|
|1896||Golfing Extraordinary, Five Gentl||Director|
|1896||Landing at Low Tide||Director|
|1896||Pierrot and Pierrette||Director|
|1896||A Surrey Garden||Director|
|1896||Yarmouth Fishing Boats Leaving Harbour||Director|
|1897||An Unfriendly Call||Director|
|1900||Briton vs. Boer||Producer|
- Robert Shail. British Film Directors: A Critical Guide. Books.google.com. p. 13. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "Birt Acres Collection - Collections at the National Fairground and Circus Archive - National Fairground and Circus Archive - The University of Sheffield". Sheffield.ac.uk. 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "Image of frames from 'incident at clovelly cottage', 1895. by Science & Society Picture Library". Scienceandsociety.co.uk. 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "FIGURE_03-01_PAUL_ACRES". Cinemathequefroncaise.com. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "A Barnet business start up that changed the world". Barnetsociety.org.uk. 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- Allen Eyles~; Keith Skone. Cinemas of Hertfordshire. Books.google.com. p. 7. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "EarlyCinema.com". EarlyCinema.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-12. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- "British film pioneer Birt Acres' grave discovered in Walthamstow (From This Is Local London)". Thisislocallondon.co.uk. 1918-12-27. Retrieved 2017-06-17.