Pan Shots in Early Russian Cinema

Drama v Tabore podmoskovnykh tsygan
(Drama in a Gypsy Camp near Moscow)
R: Vladimir Siversen. B: Vladimir Siversen. K: Vladimir Siversen. D: People from a gipsy camp near Moscow. P: A. Khanjonkov & E. Osh. RUS 1908
Engl. subtitles

“In a gypsy camp, the beautyful Aza has two admirers. She loves one of them, Aleko who obtains the consent of Aza’s parents. The wedding celebrations begin in the camp. But the rejected rival, knowing Aleko to be a passionate card-player proposes a game of cards. Aleko has bad luck, he loses all his money and his horse. He has lost everything except his beloved wife. The rival suggests that Aleko makes one final bet, on his wife. She pleads with him to refrain from this, but in vain. Aleko loses once more. On learning what has happened, the camp is in commotion and banish Aleko. During the night, Aleko asks Aza to run away with him. She refuses and he kills her and throws himself from a cliff.”

“The emergence of tracking shots and panning shots (both vertical and horizontal) was the product of aesthetic choice, not sudden technical availability. Panning shots, which derived their name from the concept of the panorama, had been employed routinely in actualities since 1897, which marked the appearance of the first ‘panning-head’ in Britain. Khanzhonkov has referred explicitly to the documentary origins of this manoeuvre, and it is noteworthy that it was first adopted in Russian film-plays — Drama v tabore podmoskovnykh tsygan (Drama in a Gypsy Camp,1908) and Sten’ka Razin (1908) — where the action took place on exterior locations.
The initial pans in Sten’ka  Razin, for example, follow the motion of the  eponymous hero’s boat as it navigates its way along the Volga river. However, due to the absence of an easily identifiable horizon-line, and the frequent transgressions of the frame by additional boats, the movement itself is barely perceptible. By contrast, the slightly longer pans in Drama v tabore podmoskovnykh tsygan hold the two Gypsy protagonists centre-stage while  showing them simultaneously to inhabitan authentically rural space (the film featured a genuine Gypsy camp which Khanzhonkov had chanced upon near his summer studio in Krylatskoe).”
Philip Cavendish: The Hand that Turns the Handle: Camera Operators and the Poetics of the Camera in Pre-Revolutionary Russian Film.

>>> Vladimir Siversen as camera man: Rusalka  (Mermaid)

Pathé in Russia:

Vot mchitsja trojka potsjtovaja
(A Russian wedding tragedy)
R: Cheslav Sabinsky. B: Cheslav Sabinsky. K: Evgeniy Slavinskiy. D: Vera Gorskaya, Nikolai Panov, Aleksandr Vyrubov. P: Pathé Russia. RUS 1915

“Cheslav Sabinsky was a set designer at the Moscow Art Theater, who turned to film before the revolution and made a series of of studio-made spectacles. He continued to direct photoplays, mostly taken from literary and dramatic texts such as Mumu (based on Turgenev’s story) and Katarina Izmailova (based on Leskov’s novel), amd produced numerous films until he died in 1941.”
Vlada Petrić: Constructivism in Film – A Cinematic Analysis: The Man with the Movie Camera. Cambridge University Press 2012, p. 56 fn.

>>> Cheslav Sabinsky on this site: Anton Chekhov on Screen, Princess Tarakanova

>>> Russia