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Who Made the First Video Camera?

By Elaine Elliott

We’ve come a long way since the first video camera was invented. Film has evolved from analog devices to the handy smartphones we carry in our pocket. The bulky and expensive inventions of the early film era are no longer relevant with our multi-functional and widely available electronic gadgets.

But who made the first video camera? When was it invented?

Every invention story starts from humble roots and the history of the first video camera is no different.


Back in the late 1800s, a lot of inventors started coming up with motion picture devices around the same time. The surge in film interest caused a lot of debate for which inventor takes the cake for being the first filmmaker.


Most historians have agreed that Louis Le Prince’s single-lens camera made in 1888 created the first and oldest motion video in existence. The video is a piece called “Roundhay Garden Scene” which was a two second silent film of people walking in a garden. By no means was this a riveting blockbuster, but it was a big breakthrough for motion pictures.


In 1891, Thomas Edison’s employer William Kennedy Laurie Dickson invented the first movie camera called the Kinetograph. Edison was attempting to invent a video camera at the same time, but Dickson’s model proved to be much more successful.


In 1894, Kazimierz Proszynski invented the Pleograph which was a camera with a projector. He also made the Aeroscope, the first compressed air camera. The Aeroscope was also the first hand-held camera which meant news broadcasters had an easier time filming in the field to shoot battles during WWI.


By the early 1900s, video cameras were accessible on a mass-market scale and the film and theater industry boomed. For years, these theater screenings were silent black and white pictures. As technology progressed, sound was added and then color was included by the 1950s to films.


We have inventors like Louis Le Prince and William Kennedy Laurie Dickson to thank for jumpstarting the film industry to what it is today. Just imagine how both men would feel if they realized their film inventions would progress to the digital technology it is today!

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