First Video Camera Looked Like A Grenade Launcher

We've crossed paths with a number of camera "guns" over the years, but none can quite match the coolness — or age — of Étienne-Jules Marey's "Fusil Photographique", pictured above. Original created in 1882 to capture the motions of birds, the Fusil could manage 12 frames at 1/720th of a second.

According to this page at The History of The Discovery of Cinematography, the drum of the camera contained 12 (surprise!) gelatine plates, positioned behind two opaque discs — the first featuring individuals shutters for each plate and the second just a single, large shutter.

Focusing the camera involved changing the length of the barrel. Then, to capture footage, all the photographer had to do was aim and, well, shoot.

If you'd like to see the Fusil in action, along with animated GIFs of the resulting footage, check out the first link below.

[The History of The Discovery of Cinematography, via PetaPixel]

Image: Wikimedia

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