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The cyclotrope
March 16, 2011 3:10 AM   Subscribe

The cyclotrope is a cycle of 18 images that is spun at a certan speed so that the frame rate of the camera filming it gives the illusion of animation. Created and animated by tim wheatley. Like a Zoetrope or Phenakistoscope but using a bicycle wheel.

Optical toys

Similar idea using a phonograph turntable, Phonographantasmascope

Crystal zoetrope

Masstransiscope. Bill Brand’s Masstransiscope was installed in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, New York in September 1980. It has been seen by millions of commuters for over twenty-five years. The 228 hand-painted panels are viewed through a series of vertical slits set into a specially constructed housing. The piece works on the principle of the Zoetrope, a 19th century optical toy.

Previously, previously, previously.
posted by nickyskye (13 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Waitaminute... nobody's posted a link to Pixar's Zoetrope here?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:28 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fun ! Thanks nickyskye.
posted by nicolin at 4:30 AM on March 16, 2011


Excuse my ignorance, but how is this different from stop-motion-animation?
posted by therubettes at 4:50 AM on March 16, 2011


I love the Masstransiscope idea. I wish there were more of them in subways around the world.
Thanks nickyskye!
posted by vacapinta at 5:01 AM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


how is this different from stop-motion-animation?

Less stopping, more motion.

In stop-motion, the frames created along the time dimension and presented along the time dimension. You arrange the scene, take a picture, re-arrange the scene, take a picture, etc. Then you show each frame in time sequence and it appears to move.

With a zoetrope, the frames are created along a space dimension and presented along the time dimension. You create a linear sequence of still pictures on, say, a strip of paper. Then you show each frame in time sequence (by putting each frame in front of the camera, say) and it appears to move.

If you stop the zoetrope and take the strip out, you are presenting along the space dimension. And if you clip apart a Disney movie and tape the cels to the wall, you are doing the same thing.

In a regular zoetrope, you can usually only see about one frame at a time. With an open system like a bike wheel you can see a few frames ahead and behind, so you get a blend of time and space presentations.
posted by DU at 5:13 AM on March 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually, a Disney movie is a bad example since the frames were created in a space dimension there too (i.e. different cels). A better example might be clipping apart a Wallace and Gromit movie.
posted by DU at 5:14 AM on March 16, 2011


It's more like a primitive projector than anything else. The trick with these things is isolating an image for a spit second so that it can register in your mind. The bike wheel version is being carefully spun to match the shutter speed of the video camera. The person spinning the wheel was looking at the camera viewfinder, rather that the wheel. You wouldnt get the effect with the naked eye. What makes the Pixar version work is the strobe light. Imagine watching a movie where the film gate was widened so that you could see several frames of the film projected on the wall at once. The action would flow across the sequence of frames but if you just watched any one frame, it would play like normal.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:36 AM on March 16, 2011


how is this different from stop-motion-animation?

Less stopping, more motion.

In stop-motion, the frames created along the time dimension and presented along the time dimension. You arrange the scene, take a picture, re-arrange the scene, take a picture, etc. Then you show each frame in time sequence and it appears to move.

With a zoetrope, the frames are created along a space dimension and presented along the time dimension. You create a linear sequence of still pictures on, say, a strip of paper. Then you show each frame in time sequence (by putting each frame in front of the camera, say) and it appears to move.

If you stop the zoetrope and take the strip out, you are presenting along the space dimension. And if you clip apart a Disney movie and tape the cels to the wall, you are doing the same thing.

In a regular zoetrope, you can usually only see about one frame at a time. With an open system like a bike wheel you can see a few frames ahead and behind, so you get a blend of time and space presentations.
posted by DU


Thanks for the detailed explanation.
posted by therubettes at 7:41 AM on March 16, 2011


That was unexpectedly cool.
posted by eriko at 7:51 AM on March 16, 2011


Spinning by hand - why does he do that? I assume they are splicing together the bits where he is spinning it at the right speed for the camera to record the effect, but why not motorize the thing?
posted by beagle at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2011


That music is Jherek Bischoff's "Kule Kule", and it is badass. Also, great cyclotrope!
posted by everichon at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2011


but why not motorize the thing?

Because it's a cyclotrope, not a motorcyclotrope.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:37 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


For an in-depth presentation and some cute examples watch...

http://vimeo.com/10284082
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:35 AM on March 18, 2011


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