From Silent Movies To Modern Day Blockbusters: The Timeline of Film Evolution

by | May 21, 2024 | Film

  • The first film ever made was Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene in 1888 and depicted people walking through the Roundhay Garden.
  • Silent films were all the rage in the 1920’s until sound and color films started being made and transformed the industry into what it is today. 
  • Modern day movies often require established VFX studios like Boiling Point Media to handle the large amount of post production effects needed. 


Films have been created to entertain for nearly 150 years. While the exact origins of cameras and film may be murky, filmmaking today is a 77 billion dollar industry. From big budget summer blockbusters to Oscar winning short films and animated movies, the film industry has expanded from humble beginnings to a behemoth. Films are not only entertainment for millions, but works of art that stand the test of time. So where did this all begin? Who were the pioneers who turned moving pictures into stories that capture our imaginations? In order to fully understand the transformation and evolution of filmmaking, we need to start at the beginning. The evolution of filmmaking is an exciting, fast paced one. 


The First Movie Ever Made (1880-1900)

Film photography had already been around since the early part of the 19th century. The next step forward in the film industry was to combine multiple images to create the illusion of motion. The first movie ever created was thought to be Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene in 1888. This film was just a short scene that depicted people walking through gardens. There were also other films created around this time, but they were seen more as experiments and not practical. However, that changed in 1895 when Thomas Edison created one of the first film viewers called a Kinetoscope. This revolutionary device allowed one person at a time to gaze into a box with moving images. The Lumiere Brothers followed suit one year later when they used their Cinématographe device to project a film to a paying audience. This opened the floodgates for inventors and artists to start making their own films. 

The Silent Movie Making Era (1900-1920)

In the early 20th century, movie studios were founded and started making silent films. Though they are referred to as silent, they typically featured a live musical accompaniment. These movies quickly became a popular and inexpensive form of entertainment. Movie stars were born as more and more films were made. Films weren’t just made in America either, the phenomenon spread all across the world. Most of these new studios were based in New York. 


Since Edison still owned the patents for making movies, they all had to go through him to make movies. However, many saw California as the perfect place to make films instead since they were unlikely to be caught by Edison being so far from New York. That was the beginning of what we know today was Hollywood. The studios quickly grew, and eventually consolidated into major players in the industry. But things were about to change in a big way.


Addition of Color & Sound (1920-1940)

Black and white, silent movies were the standard up until 1927 with the release of The Jazz Singer. This was the first film to feature sound, and audiences went crazy for it. What was then known as The Talkie was born. As talkies became more popular, many silent movie stars lost their popularity and fell into obscurity. There was another revolution just around the corner for film as well: Color. Although color films had been around, nobody had come up with a practical way to shoot an entire movie in color. Contrary to popular belief, the first full length color film was not actually The Wizard Of Oz, but a now lost film called, The World, The Flesh and the Devil. However, The Wizard Of Oz was a massive hit that showed the world that color filmmaking was here to stay. 


The Golden Era (1940-1970)

The next era of film is often referred to as the golden age of cinema since there were eight major studios creating some of the most iconic films of all time. The studios owned everything from the theaters to the cameras, and sometimes even the actors! Every studio developed their own style, and created movies that fit it. Although there were strict censorship laws that were heavily debated at the time, the studios still managed to push boundaries and churn out hits. But the house of cards wouldn’t last forever. Television was quickly becoming a popular alternative to movies and more Americans were choosing to stay at home instead of  going to the movies. A slew of lawsuits and antitrust cases began to unravel the near monopoly these studios had created. Changing tastes and new culture was transforming the way the world watched films. A new Hollywood was born. 


The New Hollywood (1970-2000)

During the evolution of filmmaking, the 1970s brought in new elements. The 1970s brought with it political and social change, which was reflected heavily in the films of the era. The huge budget epics of the golden age were failing to draw in audiences. Meanwhile, smaller creative films like Easy Rider, which only cost $500,000 to make, ended up bringing in more than $60,000,000 at the box office. The studios were being completely transformed from the bottom up, and the entire studio system changed completely.

Films like The Godfather and The Exorcist pushed boundaries and made lots of money. In 1977, a film called Star Wars was released. It was so popular that a new term was created: Blockbuster. Into the 80s and 90s, budgets ballooned as studios battled to get blockbuster hits. Movies got bigger, louder, and more exciting as new special effects like CGI were invented. These iconic films served as the foundation for the next generation of films. 


Technological Advances in Movie Making (2000-2010)

The early 21st century saw technological advances that changed the way movies were made. Up until that point, almost all major movies were shot on film. Innovative filmmakers like George Lucas were some of the first to adopt digital cameras and advanced computer imagery into their films. As computers got faster and more powerful every year, movie effects got more realistic as well. More blockbuster films turned into franchises which spawned multiple sequels. Eventually movies jumped off the big screen and made it into home video and eventually streaming.The digital age brought a whole new way to watch and experience movies.


Current Movie Making Trends

Still today, we’re seeing the continuation of the evolution of filmmaking. Today, movies are as big and exciting as they have ever been. Television is no longer just low budget sitcoms, but sometimes rival movies in their scope and depth. New technology like the Volume Wall allows filmmakers to create even more realistic digital scenes through the use of wrap around LED walls. Advanced and cost effective camera technology has put the power of filmmaking into everyone’s hands.

Indie filmmakers are now able to create movies with the phones in their pockets, using free software to edit and create special effects that rival big budget films. The current age of film is dominated by technology and special effects. With new technology like AI on the horizon, we are just beginning to see what all we can do with filmmaking.


Post Production Services

With today’s advanced technology, post production has become an even more powerful and essential part of the filmmaking process. The effectiveness or failure of a film can entirely depend on bad sound or color, or undeveloped effects. There are so many things to consider, and so many different softwares to learn. There are entire studios, like Boiling Point Media, that are dedicated to providing top quality post production services. They have a highly experienced team that can ensure your film gets the best possible effects. 


Sound Editing

Sound is something that may not seem too important. But have you ever tried to watch the ending of Star Wars with no music? It’s not the same. Additionally, odd or improper sound effects or dialogue sticks out like a sore thumb and can ruin a movie for many people. 


Color Editing

Like sound, the color grading of a film can entirely change the emotion of a scene. Improper color editing can throw off a whole scene, or even the whole film! Color grading is a fine art that many people may not have an eye for. Color experts can ensure that the color editing is consistent throughout the film.



Some films may require 3D animation to depict certain objects, people, or animals that couldn’t be shot on set. Creating, animating, lighting, and integrating these animations is a long and very complicated process but can bring amazing results to a film. Professional animators at studios like Boiling Point Media have this process down and are able to create stunning animations that rival any big budget movie.



In addition to animation, you may need visual effects to properly convey your film’s story. From explosions to adding in fake skies, there may be thousands of visual effect shots in a modern movie. Therefore, it’s always ideal to hire the best VFX artists as they specialize in this artform. Having a professional team of VFX artists behind your film allows you to get all of your shots done on time, on budget, with amazing results.


Virtual Production

Shooting on a soundstage used to mean using green or blue screens to remove backgrounds. While this method is still used today, a new and exciting filmmaking technique is taking the industry by storm. Virtual production allows the filmmaker to shoot actors on a stage surrounded by LED lights that create realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows all around. This technology is extremely cutting edge and complex, and is being used in many popular movies & TV shows today (like The Mandelorian and Avatar).


Make A Movie at Boiling Point Media

So there you have it, the evolution of filmmaking. From the very first films ever made, visual effects have found their way into films. While they were subtle at first, new technology has allowed them to all but engulf the filmmaking process. With so many different post production effects to perfect, the best way to ensure it’s done right is to hire Boiling Point Media. We have a diverse team of VFX artists who specialize in everything from sound and color editing to 3D animation. Our expert team can turn your film into something truly stunning and effective. If you want to learn more about our services, and look at some of the projects we’ve been a part of, visit our website. Don’t forget to contact us if you are ready to take the next step in taking your film to the next level visually. 


The filmmakers at Boiling Point have extensively studied and completed sound design services on numerous film projects. Depending on the goals of the film and of different scenes, our film production team will use foley effects, music, or automated dialogue replacement to create the audio experience desired by the film director. Between your great ideas, our professional sound editors, and our LED volume wall, we can bring your film to life. Check out our website to learn more about the films we have produced as well as our filmmaking capabilities. If you are looking to produce a film, need VFX, or just need post production work, give Boiling Point a call and bring your film to its boiling point.


Contact Boiling Point 



(405) 286-9635




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