ⓘ Feature film


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Feature film

ⓘ Feature film

A feature film, feature-length film, or theatrical film is a film with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole film to fill a program. The term feature film originally referred to the main, full-length film in a cinema program that also included a short film and often a newsreel. The notion of how long a feature film should be has varied according to time and place. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute, a feature film runs for more than 40 minutes, while the Screen Actors Guild asserts that a features running time is 75 minutes or longer.

Most feature films are between 75 and 210 minutes long. The first narrative feature film was the 60-minute The Story of the Kelly Gang 1906, Australia. The first proto-feature-length adaptation was Les Miserables 1909, U.S. Other early feature films include The LInferno 1911, Defence of Sevastopol 1911, Quo Vadis? 1913, Oliver Twist 1912 American version, Oliver Twist 1912 British version, Richard III 1912, From the Manger to the Cross 1912 and Cleopatra 1912.


1. Description

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the American Film Institute, and the British Film Institute all define a feature as a film with a running time of 2.400 seconds i.e. 40 minutes or longer. The Centre National de la Cinematographie in France defines it as a 35 mm film longer than 1.600 metres 5.200 ft, which is exactly 58 minutes and 29 seconds for sound films, and the Screen Actors Guild gives a minimum running time of at least 75 minutes.


2. History

The term feature film came into use to refer to the main film presented in a cinema and the one which was promoted or advertised. The term was used to distinguish the longer film from the short films referred to as shorts typically presented before the main film, such as newsreels, serials, animated cartoons, live-action comedies, and documentaries. There was no sudden increase in the running times of films to the present-day definitions of feature-length; the "featured" film on a film program in the early 1910s gradually expanded from two to three to four reels. Early features had been produced in the United States and France, but were released in individual short film scenes. This left exhibitors the option of playing them alone, to view an incomplete combination of some films, or to run them all together as a short film series.

Early features were mostly documentary-style films of noteworthy events. Some of the earliest feature-length productions were films of boxing matches, such as The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight 1897, Reproduction of the Corbett-Jeffries Fight 1899, and The Jeffries-Sharkey Fight 1899. Some consider the 100-minute The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight to be the first documentary feature film, but it is more accurately characterized as a sports program as it included the full unedited boxing match. In 1900, the documentary film In the Army was made. It was over one hour in length and was about the training techniques of the British soldier. Inauguration of the Australian Commonwealth 1901 ran for 35 minutes, "six times longer than any previous Australian film", and has been called "possibly the first feature-length documentary made in Australia". The American company S. Lubin released a Passion Play titled Lubins Passion Play in January 1903 in 31 parts, totaling about 60 minutes. The French company Pathe Freres released a different Passion Play, The Life and Passion of Jesus Christ, in May 1903 in 32 parts running about 44 minutes.

Defined by length, the first dramatic feature film was the Australian 60-minute film The Story of the Kelly Gang 1906. Similarly, the first European feature was the 90-minute film LEnfant prodigue France, 1907, although that was an unmodified record of a stage play; Europes first feature adapted directly for the screen, Les Miserables, came from France in 1909. The first Russian feature was Defence of Sevastopol in 1911. Early Italian features were The LInferno 1911, Quo Vadis? 1913, The Last Days of Pompeii 1913, and Cabiria 1914. The first UK features were the documentary With Our King and Queen Through India 1912, filmed in Kinemacolor and Oliver Twist 1912. The first American features were Oliver Twist 1912, From the Manger to the Cross 1912, Cleopatra 1912, and Richard III 1912. The latter starring actor Frederick Warde starred in some of these movie adaptations. The first Asian feature was Japans The Life Story of Tasuke Shiobara 1912, the first Indian feature was Raja Harishchandra 1913, the first South American feature was Brazils O Crime dos Banhados 1913, and the first African feature was South Africas Die Voortrekkers 1916. 1913 also saw Chinas first feature film, Zhang Shichuans Nan Fu Nan Qi.

By 1915 over 600 feature films were produced annually in the United States. It is often incorrectly cited that The Birth of a Nation 1915 was the first American feature film. The most prolific year of U.S. feature production was 1921, with 682 releases; the lowest number of releases was in 1963, with 213. Between 1922 and 1970, the U.S. and Japan alternated as leaders in the quantity of feature film production. Since 1971, the country with the highest feature output has been India, which produces a thousand films in more than twelve Indian languages each year.


3. Technological developments

In 1927, Warner Bros. released the first feature-length film with sound, The Jazz Singer, whose audio track was recorded with a proprietary technology called Vitaphone. The films success persuaded other studios to go to the considerable expense of adding microphones to their sets, and scramble to start producing their own "talkies".

One of the next major advancements made in movie production was color film. Even before color was a possibility in movies, early film makers were interested in how color could enhance their stories. Early techniques included hand tinting: painting each frame by hand. Cheaper and more widely used was toning: dying the film in a signal color, used in many films in the 1920s. The film processing lab Technicolor developed the Three-Tone coloring technique that became the standard for color film. It was a complex, time consuming, and expensive process that many movie studios were not eager to try. One of the early adopters of the three-strip process was Disney. Some of the most notable films Technicolor processed with three-strip were The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.

Digital Video or DV has quickly changed how most films are made. First used to create special effects and animated movies, digital cameras became more common on film sets in the late 1990s. In 2002, George Lucas Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones became the first major feature-length film to be shot entirely on digital cameras. The ability to instantly play back footage and quickly transfer footage to computers for editing helped to speed up post-production time. Digital film making was given a big boost in 2005 when the Digital Cinema Initiative created a guide for manufacturers to create a universal standard, to make the technologies more compatible with each other and more user friendly. Shooting movies on digital also led to new technologies for distributing films. Titan A.E., released in 2000, was the first feature film to be released for viewing over the internet. Digital distribution changed the ways people received and watched media. It also gave viewers access to huge amounts of online content on demand.

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