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Myth

A tradition of success

Studio Babelsberg is the first large-scale film studio ever built. With a total area of more than 420.000 m2, it is Europe's largest integrated film studio. With 28.000 m2 of indoor studio area available for filming, and 17.000 m2 available outside, the location provides space for several simultaneous big-budget productions. The history of Studio Babelsberg is full of world-renowned stars, legendary stories, and renowned successes, a tradition that still guides Babelsberg companies and clients today. In earlier times, Fritz Lang changed film history with "Metropolis," and it was here that Marlene Dietrich skyrocketed to world fame in "Der Blaue Engel." More recently, Studio Babelsberg was instrumental in the international success of a secret agent called Jason Bourne.

A century of innovation

International aus Tradition

The story of Studio Babelsberg began over one hundred years ago. It was Asta Nielsen, the greatest international star of her day, who starred in the first movie made at Babelsberg.

The area of the Studio Babelsberg was discovered by Guido Seeber, the legendary cameraman and technical director of Deutsche Bioscop. Initially, an existing factory building was extended to make a studio, and a separate glass atelier of 15 x 20 meters was built.

On February 12th 1912, the studio was ready for operation for the first time, and the drama of love and jealousy "Der Totentanz" with Asta Nielsen commenced shooting. The movie was tremendously successful with the public. The enormous popularity and appeal of the silent film diva was summarized by the film critic Rudolf Kurtz as follows: "There have been movies which have spooked or amused the audience – her movies shake the audience."

In cooperation with Guido Seeber, 17 films were shot between then and 1913. The area was significantly extended, and soon the outside area was used as well.

Today the Guido-Seeber-Haus reminds us of the founder's pioneering spirit during the early years of studio Babelsberg.

Home of the "unchained cinema"

Heimat der entfesselten Kamera

Modern camera work would be inconceivable without the ideas and innovations of the film enthusiasts of Babelsberg. It was here where cameraman Karl Freund invented the "unchained camera".

In the mid-twenties cameraman Karl Freund managed to bring a sense of flow to the movies that was unprecedented and thrilling. He freed his camera from the limitations of the tripod and demonstrated groundbreaking new perspectives. Despite his stout stature, Freund was known for his sheer physical effort in defining new camerawork.

With self-designed belts, Karl Freund strapped the camera onto his body. This invention allowed dynamic movement while still remaining close to the actors. In this way, Freund's "unchained camera" became a defining and recognizable feature of Studio Babelsberg's output in the 1920s. 

The movement was introduced in the 1924 film "Der letzte Mann" directed by F.W. Murnau. In response, the critic Siegfried Kracauer praised the film as "poetry in pictures". 

This new aesthetic also appealed to international audiences: the 1925 film "Varieté" became a box-office hit in the United States.

Today, technical and creative know-how and the relentless pursuit of perfection continue to define Studio Babelsberg's world-leading production work, training, and research.

On the cutting edge of special effects

TV und fx treiben Digitalisierung voran

After the development of the film industry at Studio Babelsberg, the newly founded public broadcasting company (today's RBB) brought their TV and radio programme to Babelsberg and continuously focused more and more on digital development. Further TV productions and their surroundings started to also locate here, creating an ever-growing nexus of TV output and expertise.

At Babelsberg, animation companies began to use digital equipment to produce their films in 1995, contributing to the studio's long tradition of technological advancement. In support of this new technological reality, a dedicated special effects centre was built according to plans by Shin Takamatsu.

Combining classic competence with the world's largest contemporary studio hall (measuring 7355 m2), in addition to new digital technologies, has opened up new dimensions for Babelsberg clients. Our studio also offers the latest set design, from construction to digital post production.

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