Horse Racing & The First Motion Picture

So ends the Thoroughbred season this year at Woodbine Racetrack. It has been a pleasure to be surrounded by such talented individuals; whether it was camera operating on Bet Night Live on The Score or on simulcast shows, I look forward to continuing to produce quality content with all of them in the new year.

I look back and remember learning of Eadweard Muybridge; commonly regarded as the “father of the motion picture”. Muybridge’s early photographic experiments were the foundation for modern cinema. And it all started with a question posed over a century ago: Does a horse ever go airborne while running?

1872: the story begins when Californian racehorse owner and former governor Leland Stanford had a wager to settle among his friends; whether all four hooves of a horse ever left the ground at the same time while it was running. Because a horse’s legs are moving so fast, it’s hard to tell just by looking with the naked eye. He needed a way to slow down the movement so that it could be studied.

He offered Muybridge, who was a successful commercial photographer, a large sum of money if he could find the answer. Muybridge then went on to inventing a fast shutter mechanism and improving sensitivity of emulsion paper so he could successfully settle the bet. After many experiments, he produced a sequence of a dozen images that proved all four of the horse’s hooves were, in fact, off the ground at the same time. This sequence is regarded as the first motion picture.

Over a century later, we’ve witnessed how far the technology as come. In what ways will we continue to push the envelope in technology? In craft? What new ways will we be able to enhance our storytelling and inspire audiences? The questions excite me.


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