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15:49 May 15, 2001
English to French translations [Non-PRO]
English term or phrase:
"When we watch a motion picture, we are actually seeing many thousands of separate still pictures."
- ARTHUR KNIGHT ("Motion Picture" article from World Book Encyclopedia, 1981 ed.)

A motion picture is made up of thousands of still pictures called frames. In each frame, the scene or subjects in the scene are slightly different in position from the previous frame. For every second of time, 24 frames of film flicker onto a screen to produce moving images. We cannot discern each still image but instead see continuous motion. This is because of a condition of the human eye known as persistence of vision. Persistence of vision was first discovered in 65 B.C. by the Roman poet Lucretius and proved by Ptolemy of Alexandria about 200 years later. Simply put, persistence of vision means that when the human eye views an object under a bright light, the visual image of that object will persist for one tenth of a second after the light is turned off. Therefore, as each frame appears, it does not fade out until the next frame appears. In reality, the screen is black, when between frames, more often than when it is illuminated with a frame.
Motion-Picture Camera.
A special motion-picture camera is used to take movies. It is similar to a still camera in that it exposes light which reflects off objects and passes through the camera lens onto the film. It is different from a still camera in that it takes the pictures at a much faster rate of 24 frames, or pictures, per second.

Film camera.
Photo compliments of Roessel CPT Inc. at
In order to accomplish this faster frames per second rate, a motion picture camera must perform several very precise operations. The film cannot just roll past the lens. Doing so would create terrible motion blur resulting in one big blur. Instead, the camera starts and stops the film from passing by the lens while opening and closing the camera shutter in conjunction. The shutter regulates the length of time that the light get exposed on to the film. When the shutter is open, the film stops, remaining motionless, to allow it to be exposed to the light passing through the lens. Once the shutter closes, the film moves to the next frame. A device called a claw is inserted in the sprocket holes, which run down along each side of the film, in order to advance the film. When the claw has advanced the film to the next frame, it stops and a register pin holds the film motionless and in place as the shutter opens and the new frame is exposed. This cycle is repeated 24 times per second, which is extremely fast.

Animated and labeled film camera's internal mechanism
The film used in a motion-picture camera is a flexible strip of Celluloid coated with chemicals that are sensitive to light. Such film is available in several standard widths expressed in millimeters. Film widths for motion pictures shown in a movie theater are either 35 millimeters (1 3/8 inches) or 70 millimeters (2 3/4 inches). The sprocket holes running down each side of the film are how motion-picture cameras and projectors grab and advance the film.
In the movie theater, a motion picture is projected onto a screen by a device known as a projector. The projector uses a powerful beam of light to flash exposed frames of film onto the screen. Just like the motion picture camera, the projector must start and stop the film 24 times per second. The shutter remains open as the light shines the frame onto the screen. When the shutter closes, shutting out the beam of light, the drive sprockets advance the film. Again, the viewer's persistence of vision fills in the periods of darkness inbetween frames to make the action appear smooth and continuous.
The screen found in a movie theater has a special reflective surface which produces a clear picture with bright colors. To make it highly reflective, the screen can either be covered with tiny beads of glass or painted with titanium dioxide or a mixture of white lead and white zinc.

A single image on a film strip. It is also used to describe the field seen by the camera for a given shot.

Persistence Of Vision
The ability of the eye to perceive a series of rapid still images as a single moving image by retaining each impression on the retina for one-tenth of a second, which overlaps the image. This phenomena makes it possible to see the sequential projected images of a motion picture as life-like constant movement.

The optical device designed to produce an image on a screen, on a camera film, and in a variety of optical instruments. The lens is also used to converge, diverge or otherwise control light rays in applications not involving images.

Mechanism used in cameras and projectors to move the film intermittently.
Toothed wheel that is used to transport perforated motion picture film.
kelsey johnson

Summary of answers provided
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Nathalie Kourimsky



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Nathalie Kourimsky
Native speaker of: French
PRO pts in pair: 19
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