Shadow Puppets – Analog Animation Projector

December 16th, 2012

CNV00019Matt has texted me on facebook today asking how its going with the final digirep assignment (we gotta do 2.5D animation, but to asnwer his question – it’s not going well, as I haven’t started yet!) and reminded me of the project we did in October this year. So myself, Matthew Witts and Alex Sun – all BDP guys at Westminster Uni right now (what a coincidence) decided to team up to create an analog device. The first task for our digirep lecture was to create an animation and a physical device to show it which would combine digital and analog processes. The technique and method was also supposed to be related to the narrative of the animation. And on top of that we were not allowed to create any conventional zoetropes or phenakistoscopes!..

While sharing a cigarette with Matt we thrown a couple of ideas of the top of our heads and agreed right away on what we are going to do. I thought – we can make our own film from acetate and then use light to project it on a wall… and that’s a basic light and shadow device concept – done. It also made sense to do a shadow puppet animation in terms of a narrative. The only question then was the design of our projector. We realised that making our own film on a analog device might be pretty tricky as it would probably be impossible to ‘capture’ the image on the wall during the transition of frames. Because of this reason we decided to use separate frames and then came up with a way how to flick them to project the animation frame by frame. The design of the device measuring around 600x600mm was pretty much supported by its function, and turned out looking like a London Eye.

The wheel hosts 22 60x78mm frames of the repeating animation printed on acetate. At the bottom of a wheel is a light box with a special slot for an iPhone to provide bright light. The iphone’s slot is in an additional box that slides in and out in order to focus the image! While spinning the wheel the first frame pops out of the light box and the next frame flicks in right after in order to capture each frame individually. How this all works can be understood from a section drawing in the gallery bellow!


1 Comment

  1. Matt Witts says:

    good times!! hope you’re doing well in kuwait bud.


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