Roundhay Garden Scene

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Roundhay Garden Scene
Believed to be the world's earliest surviving motion-picture film
Directed by Louis Le Prince
  • Harriet Hartley
  • Adolphe Le Prince
  • Joseph Whitley
  • Sarah Whitley
Cinematography Louis Le Prince
Edited by Louis Le Prince
Release dates
  • October 14, 1888 (1888-10-14) (Private collection)
Running time
2.11 seconds
Country United Kingdom

Roundhay Garden Scene is an 1888 short silent film recorded by French inventor Louis Le Prince. It is believed to be the oldest surviving film in existence, as noted by the Guinness Book of Records.[1]


According to Le Prince's son, Adolphe, the film was made at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, on October 14, 1888.[2]

It features Adolphe Le Prince,[3] Sarah Whitley (née Robinson, 1816 - 24 October 1888), Joseph Whitley (1817 - 11 January 1891) and Harriet Hartley in the garden, walking around. Note that Sarah is walking backwards as she turns around, and that Joseph's coat tails are flying as he also is turning.[2] Sarah Whitley was Le Prince's mother-in-law, being the mother of his wife, Elizabeth. Sarah Whitley died ten days after the scene was taken.[4] She was the earliest born person ever to appear in a film; her husband Joseph was the second earliest born person and the earliest born male person.

Remastered footage[edit]

In 1930 the National Science Museum (NSM), London, produced photographic copies of surviving parts from the 1888 filmstrip. This sequence was recorded on an 1885 Eastman Kodak paper base photographic film through Le Prince's single-lens combi camera-projector. Le Prince's son, Adolphe, stated that the Roundhay Garden movie was shot at 12 frames/s (and a second movie, Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge, at 20 frames/s), however the later digital remastered version of Roundhay Garden produced by the National Media Museum, Bradford, which contains 52 frames, runs at 24.64 frames/s, a modern cinematographic frame rate, so it plays in only 2.11 seconds. The National Science Museum copy has 20 frames; at 12 frames/s, this produces a run time of 1.66 seconds.


External links[edit]