Marey’s Advances in Chronophotography

Marey’s rotating-disk camera (1883) used a shutter and a circular photographic plate that turned uniformly (top left). The design is reminiscent of the phenakistoscope (see Figure 1.6), which in fact Marey used to view the camera’s final product. By 1887, the rotating-disk camera had been remodeled as the chronophotographic camera (top center), which still used a photographic plate. With the availability of Eastman’s light-sensitive film in 1888, Marey abandoned the photographic plate in favor of film, which was located on rotating spools housed in a pack on the back of the camera (top right). With the chronophonographe à pellicule mobile (1890), the film-feeding mechanism was incorporated into the camera (bottom left). The film was moved through the camera at a constant rate but was stopped for the duration of the exposure by a star-shaped fixateur (bottom right), and to prevent the film from breaking, a small loop of extra film was formed as the filmstrip passed through the fixateur. The two shutter disks could be set for 1/1200 to 1/2500 of a second, allowing for up to 80 images per second.

Back to CHAPTER 2/Part 1