Lenny Lipton’s book will become an encyclopedia of film technology, to be used by scholars, engineers and technicians, marketing people, and lawyers. And, it will become required reading for people who love film and the technology that has made it possible. It’s a book to be enjoyed as well as learned from.
Lipton traces the history of the development and evolution of film capture, production, and reproduction. But he does more than that, something that is very hard to accomplish in a history book – he tells a story and draws you into it.
Lipton traces the developments with pictures of the inventors, drawings of their apparatus and patents, examples of film clips, and other intriguing images. He takes us from Huygen’s Magic Lantern, a 17th-century image projector that used transparent plates and a light source for entertainment purposes, through a few wars and the technology push they created, to IMAX and the evolution of movies that mimic human video stereo vision, of which Lipton was one of the pioneering inventors. Many of the stories are told from a personal experience point-of-view. The overall insights and background information is astounding and speaks to the work Lipton put into this masterpiece—he spent over 10 years developing, researching and writing this book. But in fact, he spent all his whole life because this is as much about the last 30 years of his life as it is about the book.
This tome can be entered anywhere. You can literally open it up and randomly select a page to read. You will very quickly learn something you didn’t know, or even suspect. Why are their 15 perforations in film? How does sound get into the movie—the many ways that challenge was eventually solved is an incredible story. What happened to Cinerama, and all the other competing RAMAs. What role did (and does) TV play in the development and evolution of cinema. How did color TV come to be, and why? And how are the giant screens of today’s theaters driven with such brightness, speed, resolution, and spatial sound?
The book itself is beautiful, coffee-table quality—and in fact, it has a place of honor on my coffee table, so I can easily look at it and refer to it.