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Two other very important developments in the early part of the century were panchromatic black-and-white film (Eastman Type 2, 1928), which was sensitive to all colors of the spectrum and is therefore the basis of all color film today, and rem-jet anti-halation backing (Eastman Kodak, 1934), which eliminated flares created by reflections from the back of the gate and made it possible to photograph subjects set against bright light sources.

Developed in 1911, the English Moy Gyro was the first 35mm movie camera designed for handheld use. It was originally produced for naval aerial-surveillance cinematography from hydrogen-filled balloons. The camera operator could keep the camera on target despite shifts in wind direction or enemy gunfire. This camera was also notable for being the first to have pre-threaded internal film magazines, reflex viewfinding (either through a twin lens or through the back of the film) and hand grips that enabled the camera to be held away from the camera's center of gravity and close to the operator's body for additional steadiness. Steadiness was further ensured by an electrically driven gyroscopic stabilizer "to overcome the nervous movements of the operator," as it said in the patent. The Moy was also the first 35mm camera to have an internal electric motor drive and a portable battery. (The very early Edison and Mutoscope cameras were also electrically driven, but had batteries like truck batteries.) The handheld Moy aerial camera was not improved upon until the introduction of cameras that carried rolls of film one behind the other and could rest on the operator's shoulder with the viewfinder eyepiece about level with the film gate (Askania, Germany, 1938), and the arrival of Garrett Brown's Steadicam in 1976.

In the first half of the century, there were several optical developments that had a far greater impact during the second half of the century than when they were first invented. These were anti-reflection optical coatings, anamorphic lenses, the zoom lens, and the retro-focus wide-angle lens.

The phenomenon of tarnished lenses producing brighter images than non-tarnished lenses was first noted by H. D. Taylor of Taylor Taylor Hobson (TTH) in 1895, and patented in the U.K. in 1904. However, the real impact of this discovery was felt during the 1940s. In the U.S., in 1936, John Strong had developed a method of using a vacuum chamber to deposit extremely thin coatings of magnesium fluoride on lens surfaces. This not only removed internal flare from the current lenses, but led the way for the design of sophisticated multi-element lenses, including modern wide-aperture, wide-angle and zoom lenses to be designed. In Germany, Carl Zeiss had been using a similar process since 1935.

The first anamorphic lens was developed in 1927 by Henri Chrétien of France, based on the optics experiments of E. Abbé in 1897. Though introduced in 1928, Chrétien's Hypergonar lens system was not popularized until after it was bought by 20th Century Fox in 1952 and renamed CinemaScope.

The "Varo," the first serially made zoom lens (40-120mm), was designed in 1932 by Arthur Warmisham of TTH (later Cooke-TTH) in the U.K. and manufactured by Bell & Howell in the U.S.

The first distortion-free, retro-focus, inverted telephoto (or wide-angle) lens was designed by H. W. Lee of TTH (and developed by Cooke) for the Technicolor three-strip camera. More significantly, this optics innovation later made it possible to use wide-angle lenses with mirror-shutter cameras.

During World War II, there were three significant developments in Germany, for which the patents were made freely available to Allied manufacturers after the war: magnetic tape (BASF), negative/positive color film (Agfa), and the spinning-mirror reflex shutter (Arnold & Richter).

After the war, there was a flurry of developments that changed many aspects of filmmaking. Rangertone in the U.S., Maihack in Germany and Leevers Rich in the U.K. — individually and on opposite sides of the Atlantic — all developed portable, battery-driven, sync-pulse magnetic sound recorders using the width of the new 1/4" magnetic tape to record two tracks simultaneously, one with the audio and the other with a reference of the camera speed (sync pulse). Meanwhile, Eastman and others added a color mask to Agfa's negative/positive color film, and Arnold & Richter continuously developed and refined its original pre-war mirror-shutter cameras.

For the record, the first magnetic recording patent was registered by Denmark's Valdemar Poulson, and it was Fritz Pfleumer of Germany who first demonstrated (during 1928, in Berlin) a magnetic recorder using paper tape coated with steel dust — which AEG manufactured in 1935 and called the Magnetophone. However, it was BASF that first created the magnetic tape that made sound recording possible as we know it today, and it was not until 1948 that RCA of the U.S. developed the first 35mm magnetic film studio recorder.

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