I am loving my Alternative Techniques class!! Right now we are making hand-drawn animations on 16mm clear celluloid and black leader film. Pictured above are two of the first ones I made. I used sharpies on the clear film to draw changing patterns on one side and colorful backgrounds on the other side, and I used an X-acto knife on the emulsion of the black film and then colored in my scratchings with sharpie. (I used a bit of scratching on the clear film, too.) Then we spliced the ends together and loaded them up on the projector – voila! “Avant-garde” film! You can see the first four strips (the color ones) in motion in the animated gif above. (All I did there was take the crappily small-resolutioned film strip, import it into After Effects, and move the strip’s Position up frame by frame.)
These were techniques used by canonic animators like Norman McLaren and Len Lye. Animation is one of those things that has been hard for me to grasp, conceptually, so literally drawing on the films frame by frame has really helped me to understand the basic process of achieving certain animated effects. For example, if you draw a long diagonal line down the strip, it will appear as one line moving across the screen when projected. I never would have thought of that before this class! Also, I’ve learned from these first two that I really need to stretch out my transformations over more frames. And the best part is that it’s not at all hard to make these films – just potentially very time consuming – so it’s easy to experiment and try out new things and quickly view the results. Tomorrow we will be digitizing our work, so I will finally have DECENT video file that I can share. Can’t wait!
UPDATE: “digitized” version added above Sorry for the poor quality!! Vimeo’s codec for standard definition (SD) files makes them look really bad… I’ll have to figure out how I can get a better version later.
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