From a series of releases showing the "other side" of New York City. See more »
They Can't All Be Classics, Mr. Porter
Here's an actuality directed by Edwin S. Porter, best remembered for THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY. It shows horse-drawn carts coming to the edge of the wharf and dumping their contents to be shoveled by workers. Judging by the dust raised, it looks like there's a lot of ash from coals involved.
There is also some fairly advanced camerawork involved, as the camera pans a couple of times to show further ranks of carts dumping ashes and men shoveling. What we call a pan shot today involves turning the camera, something that wasn't much done into this moment in film history. Earlier, a pan was any moving shot, usually from a camera mounted on a train, boat, elevator or, in at least one case, a balloon.
The man actually responsible was J.B. Smith he has about five years of credits on the IMDb, almost entirely as a cinematographer. He did direct one classic of the era, SKYSCRAPERS OF NEW YORK FROM THE NORTH RIVER. For about fifty years, when you saw a movie where they gave you a boat's-eye view of lower Manhattan, it was mined from that short.
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