See how it works


The Praxinoscope

By casting the light of the magic lantern through translucent pictures, Reynaud could project images onto a small screen for viewing by one or more spectators (left). The Théâtre Optique expanded the principle to accommodate theater audiences, who watched bands of pictures that Reynaud organized into 15-minute “films” (right). As befits a cinema of animated images, Reynaud often borrowed characters from the circus and other traditional forms of popular entertainment. Shows were accompanied by music and sound effects, and as you can see from the picture on the right, the “second-generation” praxinoscope used back projection—that is, it was operated from behind the screen.

Back to CHAPTER 1/Part 1