Nimslo, Your Time has Come
June 2, 2010 7:31 AM   Subscribe

Michael Fivis, Maximus Chatsky, and Krakenpoison are three photographers who shoot with a Nimslo, the four lens 35mm lenticular camera manufactured in the 1980's, and create animated autostereo "wobble 3D" images.

Warning: Lots of animated .gifs to load.

A fine copy of the groundbreaking original Nimslo TV ad can be viewed on this Robert Abel & Associates 1982 Demo Reel starting at 0:28. It's a remarkable use of 3D (CGI) animation, circa 1982.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (18 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
"When's the last time you performed a miracle?"

posted by timshel at 8:05 AM on June 2, 2010

After seeing these really great and convincing images for years, I only just now thought to wonder how one was supposed to view them before animated gifs came along. Lenticularly, of course!

Also, though no glasses or other viewing aids were needed to view Nimslo prints...

Uhh...except for the lenticular lens. Which I bet was less convincing than the animated version. Also, wouldn't it be a lot simpler and cheaper to just print it stereoscopically.
posted by DU at 8:06 AM on June 2, 2010

(Somewhat) Related: Three Frames
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Wobble 3D is interesting. As I've always seen it implemented, the constant wobbling is too distracting to be more than a gimmick. But I wonder what would happen if it was sped up, and maybe reduced to just two frames? With special hardware that can switch between them at, say, 120 FPS or faster, would the wobble become less noticeable?

I'm curious if this would be a more accessible alternative to glasses-required 3D setups for movies and video games. Then again it might just cause a headache. Has any research been done in this direction?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:20 AM on June 2, 2010

I love these things without end. One of the more interesting aspects is to notice the shadow created by the camera's flash-- you can see it peeking out on either side of the subject as the image animates. I'm not sure why I find that interesting, but I do.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:23 AM on June 2, 2010

I've stumbled across the same phenomenon by accident: taking a couple of shots with my regular digital camera in succession, but having moved very slightly between each one you get the same 3D effect when toggling between the images on-screen. It's easy, you should try it too.
Self-linkish: it kind of works, depending how quickly you click, on my website, under 'halifax' about 60 frames in (I really should edit that page down, it's getting too big!)
posted by Flashman at 9:01 AM on June 2, 2010

Hopefully stickycarpet will stop by to drop some of his specialized knowledge about this, but one of the funner things about consumer-grade 3d cameras is stumbling on a copy of someone's wedding reception they developed in glorious lenticular 3d.

Wobble 3d is a bit meh, but at least I can get the overall impression of what it would look like in 3d.
posted by fuq at 9:55 AM on June 2, 2010

This DIY 3-D technique seems pretty cool.
posted by orme at 10:10 AM on June 2, 2010

Look at this fuckin 3D hipster!!
posted by Skygazer at 10:23 AM on June 2, 2010

3D RUSSIAN hipsters at that... would've been cool to see some stuff BESIDES hipsters hanging out but I mean.. who else would be using a novelty camera from the 80's to take their party pictures? Pretty sweet effect.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hey, it's true that I've worked with both Nims and Lo (they parted ways.) Fun fact: Jerry Nims replaced Falwell as head of the Moral Majority. Seemed to me that his efforts were genuine, providing back-packs of life-tools to underprivileged women leaving incarceration, for instance.

I can say more later, must run. But just imagine that scene from Glengary Glen Ross, where the character mimes a bent elbow, and throwing back a glass of whiskey, says: "Lenticular. It's a tough racket."
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:30 PM on June 2, 2010

BTW, Jerry Nims had a Nimslo photo framed in his office, taken and signed by Ansel Adams.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:33 PM on June 2, 2010

I'm friends with Michael Fivis, and now he's on the Blue. Good for him.

This is one of his big influences.
posted by defenestration at 1:06 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm also pretty damn certain he uses a Nishika N8000.
posted by defenestration at 1:09 PM on June 2, 2010

David Burdlo stitched together 3 Nimslo cameras to make the Burdlo Camera that you see down this page. In lenticular, 4 lenses are not enough, nor are 12. In most cases, 30, 32, or 36 are probably the ideal numbers, if you want to get a hologram-like vivid 3D.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:45 PM on June 2, 2010

A little off-topic, but here's a weird little guy from the MiFi site above.

What the hell is that thing? Anybody have any idea?

Last year, our neighbour gave us (IANMTU) at least 20 Buddha/Ho Tei statues, various Ganeshes in all sizes and shapes, one Tibetan wall hanging, and this weird little fellow that shows you his whanger when you pick him up. I think she said he's from Chile or Peru. I find him extremely amusing and kind of creepy at the same time.
posted by sneebler at 6:36 PM on June 2, 2010

3D photos of japan around 1900:
posted by aesacus at 8:46 PM on June 2, 2010

I wish I had researched this a little better when you first posted this. Some of the best of the animated Nimsla shots out there are on Lenticulations, which was doubtless left out of this post because of the sense of propriety of its proprietor - MeFi's own Mat Bergman (aka Chinese Jet Pilot).

Great work! Great post! Wish I (or someone) had put together the pieces earlier because your work certainly deserves to be mentioned here.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:21 PM on June 4, 2010

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