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Since you mentioned you weren’t familiar with silent films, I thought you might like to see a typical movie short and get a better feel for them. It isn’t the technical issues that seem to have been covered more or less adequately, but the style of doing things. Take the title cards for dialog, they were practically always in serif script font. And the black around close-ups is classic silent style. Not to mention that virtually all shots are static and set just below eye level. But that’s probably more than you want to know.
So anyway, this link connects to a Buster Keaton, Fatty Arbuckle short called “Scarecrow” (1920) filled with classic slapstick.
http://www.archive.org/details/BusterKeatonthescarecrow Hope you enjoy this classic comedy.