First Animation made in Vienna
The cinemas in Vienna are wonderful, especially the film museum Vienna which offers a fantastic programme on the history of cinema. Recently I saw Billy Winder’s Sunset Boulevard and on Friday I went there to see Häxan (Witches) directed by Benjamin Chistensen in 1922. It’s a silent movie (of course) but the music was live performed by the Panoptikon Orchestra which was just wonderful. Cinema could be so great. Next week I’m going to see there a whole evening about the question “What is film” on the early beginning of this technique. They’re going to screen the experiments of Étienne-Jules Marey, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, Lumière and Marie Menken. I’m really looking forward to this.
We’ve gone further with drawn animation in the course after doing some experiments with flip books and a zoetrop which is a 19th-century optical toy which consists of a cylinder with a series of pictures on its inner surface. The cylinder has slits so the rotating images give an impression of continuous motion. After that, we worked directly on 16mm film. First we painted on clear film and after that we scratched on black film. They were sticked together and screened by a 16mm film projector. The animation isn’t good but it was quite interesting as an experiment. And sorry for the unfocussed video, I shot it with my digital still camera in very low resolution.
Sadly, the course only runs once a week… This last week we started drawing which is a lot more difficult than moving a puppet in my opinion. You can see the first second of drawn animation in the video as well as one of my flipbooks. The order of the clips is painting on clear film – scratching on black film – the flipbook – the drawn animation (both recorded with my web cam). For the drawn animation we built some simply pegbars using a thin piece of cardboard, three pins with flat heads (about 1cm in diameter) and some cellotape to fix them. This worked unexpectedly good for those simple animations we did.