Theme room 1: Think Tank

In the beginning is the word - thought, spoken and written. Authors spend a lot of time alone with their words. But it’s other people who decide whether or not films are actually going to be made from them. It’s about who you know. If a script impresses a producer then they try to secure funds, contribute some ideas, assemble film teams and convince studio bosses. But they’re not the only people who need convincing: politicians and funders influence film production in Babelsberg - and not just in the Third Reich and East Germany.

Wandbox Frau im Mond; S.Mühle

Elf Fotocollagen von Steffen Mühle setzen Signale für die Wandboxen.Merken

Theme room 3: Great Set Designers

From 1912 onwards castles and circuses sprout up around the studios. Film architects, effects innovators and craftsmen create new worlds - expressionist spaces, German forests, METROPOLIS’s upper and lower city. That’s why Babelsberg becomes the Mecca for film professionals from all over the world in the 1920s. Around 1950 the young DEFA scenographers take on the heritage of the Ufa while searching for their own way. Today, international productions combine traditional set-construction techniques with computer-generated marvels.

Entwürfe, Modelle, Requisiten aus 100 Jahren Babelsberg

Designs, models, requisites out of 100 years Babelsberg

Theme room 4: Action!

Lights! Camera! Action!’ Actors and extras begin to move. The cinematographer focuses in on a pair of eyes or pulls back for a long shot. The director has already made countless decisions together with dozens of experts. But the final recorded product remains unpredictable. The team follows the scene with the utmost concentration. So is it back to the drawing board? That’s a wrap? The heart of a film beats on-set.

Set: Die Legende von Paul und Paula

Set: Die Legende von Paul und Paula

Theme room 5: Editing

Film is rhythm. Certain combinations of materials can make or break everything. A film takes shape on the editing table. What’s cut and what stays? How should a scene be established? Director and editor assemble new versions. The Babelsberg staff have been learning from the Russians and Americans about the power of editing since the 1920s. The passing of time is fixed on film and informed by film - stiff, long takes in 1912, daring, fast cuts a hundred years later.

Regiesofa im Schneideraum

Lounge of stage direction in cutting room


Theme room 6: Music Sound

And the band plays on! From 1929 music is rarely heard live in cinemas anymore. But in the brand-new Ufa ‘Tonkreuz’ studio the Ufa Orchestra is playing film compositions that will become popular songs listened to by millions. The record business is born. The DEFA Symphony Orchestra, sound engineers, and Foley artists all add their own flourishes, but the popularity of earlier film music remains. Digital sound systems in the 1990s revolutionised sound mixing. Spring waltzes? A passing jet? Each tone will change the tone of a scene.

Mikrofone und Akkordeon aus "Unter den Brücken"

Microphone and accordion of "Unter den Brücken" (1944/45)

Theme room 7: PREMIERE!

This is it. Months or even years have passed since the original idea. Advertising has been running for weeks. Interviews, trailers, websites, posters. Photographers and autograph hunters throng around the red carpet as the diva and the director sweep past. Excitement builds. Films need to circulate, bring in the cash and remain memorable. Curtain up! Roll film. How does the audience react? Are they shaken? Do they laugh at the right moments? Emotions in a dark cinema determine everything.

Kinosaal mit Filmvorführung

In the cinemaMerken

Theme room 2: Stars - Starlets

Their faces, their laughter, their tears fascinate moviegoers. That’s why people dream of appearing larger-than-life on the big screen; of being a star, being famous and being rich. But directors, producers and casting agencies haggle over who is permitted to stand in the spotlight. Costume and make-up designers help transform these chosen ones into film characters. Stars great and small, eternal icons and sought-after character actors - no one has yet found a recipe for success.

Königsgewand aus "DerEisenhans"

Kings vestment from "Der Eisenhans"
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