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There's an interesting blog at Vanilla Video discussing this and state it is due to the hand-cranked nature of the projectors and cameras: The earliest cameras and projectors needed to be hand-cranked to advance the film through the gate. This lead to varying frame rates. Early silent films had frame rates from 14 – 26 frames per second, which was ...


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There's actually a new documentary just on this very subject, Lost Emulsion (2016). Here is a link to the trailer. A short answer is that nobody thought that people would be interested in most movies decades after they were made. Nitrate film, that was used for 35mm films up until about 1950, was very flammable, and there ...



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