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23 July 1854|
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||27 December 1918
Whitechapel, London, England, UK
Birt Acres (23 July 1854 – 27 December 1918) was an American and British photographer and film pioneer. Among his contributions to the early film industry are the first working 35 mm camera in Britain, and Birtac, the first daylight loading home movie camera and projector. He also directed a number of early silent films.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, to English parents.
Acres invented the first British 35 mm moving picture camera, the first daylight loading home movie camera and projector, Birtac, was the first travelling newsreel reporter in international film history and the first European film maker who had his films shown in the United States in public performances. He contributed much to the introduction and development of cinematography in all its aspects, from the construction of cameras, projectors, film viewers, coating- and slitting machines and the manufacture of highly sensitized 35 mm raw film stock, to mobile newsreel reporting and the public projections of moving pictures.
With his partner Robert W. Paul, he was the first person to build and run a working 35 mm camera in Britain. The pair fell out after Acres patented their design in his own name on 27 May 1895. He made some very early silent films during the Victorian era including in 1895: a film of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, The Arrest of a Pickpocket, The Comic Shoeblack, The Boxing Kangaroo and Performing Bears.
Acres was a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. On 14 January 1896, he demonstrated his Kineopticon system to members and wives of the Society, at the Queen's Hall in London. This was the first public film show to an audience in the United Kingdom. Robert Paul's first solo theatrical programme was at the Alhambra Theatre on 25 March 1896.
Acres is buried in Walthamstow, London.
Most important achievements
- 1889 Apparatus for washing prints (patented).
- 1891 Printing process for stereoscopic photographs (for continuously contact print making) (patented).
- 1893 Hopper feed installation for rapidly projecting slides in a biunial (two-in-one) lantern to create the illusion of movement (patented).
- 1895 Kinetic Camera with appliance for loop forming (patented).
- 1895/96 Electroscope, apparatus for continuous viewing by more than one spectator of 35mm film.
- 1896 Installation for wholesale production of raw stock 35 mm film.
- 1896 Kineopticon, improved apparatus for projecting 35 mm film (patented).
- 1897 Cine camera with 2 lenses to resolve flicker problems and to enhance brightness.
- 1898 Birtac, home movie camera for daylight loading of 17,5 mm film (patented).
|1895||The Arrest of a Pickpocket||Director|
|1895||Charge of the Uhlans||Director, Producer|
|1895||Crude Set Drama||Director, Producer|
|1895||The Derby||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||The German Emperor Reviewing His Troops||Director||aka Kaiser Wilhelm Reviewing His Troops (USA)|
|1895||Opening of the Kiel Canal||Director, Cinematographer, Producer||aka Inauguration of the Kiel Canal by Kaiser Wilhelm II (UK)|
|1895||The Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Performing Animals; or, Skipping Dogs||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Rough Sea at Dover||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Shoeblack at Work in a London Street||Director|
|1895||Smith and Machinery at Work||Director, Cinematographer, Producer|
|1895||Tom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist||Director, Cinematographer, Producer||aka Tom Merry, Lightning Cartoonist, Sketching Kaiser Wilhelm II (four films were made of Tom Merry drawing notable figures, the others were Lord Salisbury (1896), William Ewart Gladstone (1896) and Bismarck (1895))|
|1896||The Boxing Kangaroo||Director|
|1896||Boxing Match; or, Glove Contest||Director|
|1896||Golfing Extraordinary, Five Gentl||Director|
|1896||Landing at Low Tide||Director|
|1896||Pierrot and Pierrette||Director|
|1896||A Surrey Garden||Director|
|1896||Yarmouth Fishing Boats Leaving Harbour||Director|
|1897||An Unfriendly Call||Director|
|1900||Briton vs. Boer||Producer|
- Birt Acres biography, accessed 21 June 2007.
- British film pioneer's grave discovered in Walthamstow (From This Is Local London), accessed 8 March 2015.
- Birt Acres at the Internet Movie Database
- Birt Acres biography and credits at BFI Screenonline
- Birt Acres at earlycinema.com
- An 1896 Fairground Programme on the Europa Film Treasures site