British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Reel News: First Indoor Story?

In December 1921 Gaumont Graphic filmed a 37-second story of delegates at the international disarmament conference held in Washington, D.C. The Company was proud to promote its technical achievement above the political significance of the event with a title which claimed `First Inside Pictures of Washington Conference’ and a summary which read `Inside views, made with the aid of powerful Sun-light arcs, of the world’s leading statesmen assembled in one of the most momentous gatherings in history’. On 9 December Pathe Gazette released the same story with the title `History in the Making. First pictures taken within Continental Hall, delegates of the Arms Conference in session – illuminated by Sun-light lamps’.

Both these films have survived and may be viewed online – Gaumont Graphic’s story on Newsfilm Online and Pathe Gazette’s on the British Pathe website – and users may judge for themselves how successful the indoor filming was. The footage in both stories is remarkably similar and filmed from the same angles – perhaps suggesting that the two companies shared the Sun-light lamps in a co-operative spirit to bring their audiences the latest technological advances.

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