G. A. Smith’s Studio

When he first started making films, in 1896-1897, Smith built simple sets on the grounds of his home at St. Ann’s Well Gardens (left). In 1900, in collaboration with the Warwick Trading Co., a distribution firm that also produced films and sold equipment (see Biographical Sketch 5.2), Smith built one of the world’s first motion-picture studios, also on the grounds of his gardens (right). Note the tracks in front of the stage, which were used to maneuver the building in order to take advantage of sunlight. Smith also had a technical turn of mind and had by 1900 managed to mechanize the process for printing positive from negative film. He was thus able to supply Warwick with 50 prints per day from his developing factory, which was also located on the grounds at St. Ann’s Well Gardens. (A close look at Figure 5.11 will reveal that the set pictured on the right was used in a film called Mary Jane’s Mishap.)

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