invented a type of arc lamp for Robert Paul in
In 1897, he penned one of the
first handbooks on
filmmaking - "Animated Photography, or the ABC of the
Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (1897) was one of the
first major public events to be filmed.
The Diamond Jubilee directly motivated the invention of the
first panning shot. The
film pioneer, Cecil Hepworth, invented a camera stand that
would allow him to pan his camera, and consequently shoot
more of the long Jubilee procession through London. [Bill
patented several film-oriented inventions
including a new kind of projection bulb and an automated
system for developing and printing films.
1900 Cecil Hepworth uses slow motion The Eccentric
Dancer, a close-up of his own head in The Egg-laying Man and
reverse motion in The Bathers, the second half of the film
reversing the first half.
He filmed the
funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901.
the age of 26, film director Cecil Hepworth convinced the
powers that be to allow him to film - for the sake of
posterity - the funeral of Queen Victoria. Hepworth argued
that this was an "event of a lifetime" that cinema could
capture like no other medium. Hepworth placed his camera,
like a privileged spectator, at the front of the line,
witnessing everything that passed. In addition to the
military pomp, a parade of global figures — King Edward VII,
Kaiser Wilhelm and the Duke of Connaught — floated by.
Indeed the King paused for just a second in what may be the
first occurrence of a celebrity playing to the camera. In
his autobiography Hepworth claimed the King stopped the cortege in
front of the camera to ensure it would be captured for
posterity. Maybe. Or maybe the King was annoyed by the
noise of the camera, which Hepworth confessed was
considerable! Cecil Hepworth committed all of the small
resources at his disposal to cover the route at various
points, and the resulting film proved an
international success, with sales secured the future of his
company, a major player in the industry for many years
thereafter. Perhaps more important, it solidified
cinema's claim to being the official recorder of history.
The company worked 24 hour shifts for several
days to process all the orders that came in for film of the
funeral from around the world.
In 1910 Hepworth
Vivaphone, an early synchronized sound system that
utilized a phonograph - one of many competing systems to add
sound to the silent film. The Vivaphone is the subject of British
Patent No. 10417 of 26th April 1910. There were numerous
The Cinephone and the Vitaphone are
similar types of systems used for sound and film
synchronization. In Barker's Cinephone, each scene was acted
in front of a recording phonograph and then re-enacted in
front of the camera to match the recording. A projector was
adjusted so that it ran at the same fixed speed as the
phonograph. Visual dials as indicators adjusted the speed.
Hepworth's Vivaphone was simpler than the Cinephone, where
the synchronization of sound and visuals, was adjusted by
using a single indicator in combination with colored glass.
The indicator, powered by an electro-magnet, showed either
green or red lights to the operator for adjusting the speed.
In 1913 he filmed the
first production of "Alice
in Wonderland" (now available on a
BFI DVD). Alice in Wonderland, an 800 ft spectacular,
was the largest project they ever attempted and was the
longest film of its time. Mabel Clark, a girl from the
cutting room at Hurst Grove, played Alice, and Hepworth's
wife was the White Rabbit. The film was shot in the gardens
of Mount Felix in Walton.
first feature film presented
by Royal Command was
Cecil Hepworth's production of "Comin' Through the Rye",
starring Alma Taylor, which was shown before Queen Alexandra
in the State Dining Room of Marlborough House on 4 August
[Not sure on this, since Comin Through the Rye was made in
Hepworth was no stranger to Royal Command Performances,
having been present at the very first one when he had acted
as assistant to Birt Acres. The very first Royal Command
Film Performance was held at Marlborough House on 21 July
1896 before forty Royal guests. That showing followed an
earlier request from pioneer cinematographer
Birt Acres of
New Barnet, Hertfordshire, to be allowed to exhibit publicly
a film he had taken the previous month of the Prince and
Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen
Alexandra) attending the Cardiff Exhibition. Before giving
his permission, The Prince of Wales asked Acres to bring the
film to Marlborough House for inspection. It was screened in
a specially erected marquee together with twenty other short
films, including Tom Merry the Lightning Artist drawing Mr
Gladstone and Lord Salisbury, the Derby Races of 1895 and
1896, Henley Regatta and scenes showing a boxing kangaroo, a
great Northern Railway express train and the pursuit of a
filming of British politicians - it took some time
before the cameras were allowed back into the House of
His company produced
first filmed first hour-long
feature-length version of "Hamlet"
film made in Britain, "David Copperfield"
"In spite of its faults, the film is undeniably a
milestone in translating Dickens to the screen and
demonstrates in scene after scene the pictorial quality and
realism for which Hepworth was renowned." � Michael
His studio was one of the
first to use scriptwriters,
notably the thriller writer
Edgar Wallace who in 1928 was the author of every 4th
book published in Great Britain. He wrote the plot of "King
Kong"!!! Other famous writers included
Hepworth taught Phalke, "Father
of the Indian Film Industry" in 1912. Bollywood was
invented The pan shot, and the mechanism to do it.
invented The tracking shot, and the mechanism to do
invented the "Star System" making Hepworth Players
Chrissie White, Henry Edwards and Alma Taylor the first film
stars the world had ever known.