Since the invention of cinema in 1895, several methods have been used to show successions of images to create animated sequences.
The first – silver film – underwent a revolution in 1900, with the first sound film. In 1935, color film made its appearance. Silver-film reels were available in 8-mm, 16-mm, and 35-mm formats. Several components were used over the course of time: cellulose nitrate, banned in the 1950s because it’s extremely flammable, cellulose acetate, subject to vinegar syndrome if the document is poorly preserved, and finally, starting in 1990, polyester, which is chemically stable.
However, it was with magnetic videotape that video came to the masses. After the first analog video (Quadruplex 2”) in 1956 and the first U-matic cassette commercialized in 1971, the invention of VHS in 1975 brought it to a broad audience. In 1986, image and sound quality improved thanks to the advent of Betacam. Other formats less familiar to the general public, like Betacam SP and S-VHS, were used by professionals.
Starting in the mid-1990s, digital started emerging, first stored on magnetic tapes (digital Betacam then DVCAM and Mini DV) then on optical discs (CD then DVD) . It accentuated the democratization of video, until the dematerialization we know today.
While silver-film formats keep well if they’re stored at low temperature and low relative humidity, the lifespan of magnetic tapes and optical discs is much more limited, the materials used in their production being much less chemically stable