Saturday, 17 December 2011

Zoetropes / Phenakistoscope

I've been looking into real basic methods of creating animations and to try experiment with them...

zoetrope is a device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the Greekwords "ζωή – zoe", "life" and τρόπος – tropos, "turn". It may be taken to mean "wheel of life".
It consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. Beneath the slits on the inner surface of the cylinder is a band which has either individual frames from a video/film or images from a set of sequenced drawings or photographs. As the cylinder spins the user looks through the slits at the pictures on the opposite side of the cylinder's interior. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together so that the user sees a rapid succession of images producing the illusion of motion, the equivalent of a motion picture. Cylindrical zoetropes have the property of causing the images to appear thinner than their actual sizes when viewed in motion through the slits.

This is a video, quite a old one and excuse the man demonstrating how to make a Zoetrope as his voice is a bit muffled. But i liked the distressed footage in this tutorial so still used this. This is a very traditional way to create a moving image, yet other creators have developed a more elaborate Zoetropes.

This is a really lovely video from Pixar explaining Zoetropes and their animations.

With this Zoetrope it's really intriguing how they have created a massive one with various images. I'm not sure if its just for aesthetics and doesn't properly work, or it generally does. But the juxtaposition of victorian circus theme with contemporary fashion very much works. 

Temperley London Circus Zoetrope from LEGS MEDIA on Vimeo.

I saw this Victorian Phenakistoscope when i visited the V&A Childhood museum the other week and luckily managed to find this video. I remember seeing Victorian Zoetropes when i was younger and thats how i always pictured them to be like. 

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