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Movement and Frame Rate in 19th Century Film Experiments

movement framerate first film fps

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#1 Sander Moyson

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 07:06 AM

Hi everyone,

 

Lately, I came across this video on youtube about Gilles Deleuze's Film Theory.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=zaXQdjMxG6E

 

As the intellectual content of the video interested me a lot, it was the footage that hypnotised me with it's study of pure, simple, monumental movements, as found in the very first film experiments.

 

(can someone confirm the date and origin of these images by the way?)

 

Now, what I would really like to know is what it is that makes these movements so beautiful?

 

In my view, it has something to do with the materiality of the filmprocess itself, that comes to the surface by using low frame rates and thus making the process of multiple still images turning in one moving image very touchable and visible.

Now, there has to be more. I did some experiments but did not come to a feeling of movement as in these little shots.

 

Can someone, besides a general discussion about this, tell me some technical stuff about these images?

 

Thanks!
Sander


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#2 aapo lettinen

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 08:12 AM

Now, what I would really like to know is what it is that makes these movements so beautiful?

 

In my view, it has something to do with the materiality of the filmprocess itself, that comes to the surface by using low frame rates and thus making the process of multiple still images turning in one moving image very touchable and visible.

Now, there has to be more. I did some experiments but did not come to a feeling of movement as in these little shots.

I think it's the huge variations in brightness/exposure/alignment between frames and also the very low frame rate. It resembles quite a lot of stop motion animation or cutout animation. 

 

If using only the low frame rate without the alignment problems and brightness fluctuation (perfect image but only the frame rate lowered) the end result would look very poor and dull, like a webcam image of sorts


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#3 Mark Dunn

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Posted 31 March 2015 - 11:37 AM

The horse sequences were made by Eadweard Muybridge to settle a bet as to whether a horse at the gallop had all four legs off the ground. A separate camera made each exposure and was triggered by the horse's legs breaking a thread.

Here they have been made up into a ' flick-book' but this wasn't the original intention- the prints were simply printed up sequentially on a board. The originals are far better technically than you see in the video. Each frame is perfectly exposed.

Muybridge's book 'Animal Locomotion' is a collector's item, of course. Plates from it fetch thousands at auction.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 31 March 2015 - 11:38 AM.

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#4 Sander Moyson

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:24 AM

I think it's the huge variations in brightness/exposure/alignment between frames and also the very low frame rate. It resembles quite a lot of stop motion animation or cutout animation. 

 

If using only the low frame rate without the alignment problems and brightness fluctuation (perfect image but only the frame rate lowered) the end result would look very poor and dull, like a webcam image of sorts

 

Indeed, it must be so.

But, I have the feeling that it's also the case with flipbooks and that early machines with little photo's to look through. I think in these cases the exposure and alignment is quite the same. That's the reason why I mentioned frame rate. Because I have the feeling there's something in seeing multiple still pictures instead of a real flow. Sometimes it's also a bit like watching with an old projector. You have the feeling of still images with a black image in between.

 

Why I'm asking this is because I'm thinking of making something with the same kind of effect or flow, but with modern techniques.
Anyone any idea how to make something like this today? Imo it's a very interesting experiment.

 

The horse sequences were made by Eadweard Muybridge to settle a bet as to whether a horse at the gallop had all four legs off the ground. A separate camera made each exposure and was triggered by the horse's legs breaking a thread.

Here they have been made up into a ' flick-book' but this wasn't the original intention- the prints were simply printed up sequentially on a board. The originals are far better technically than you see in the video. Each frame is perfectly exposed.

Muybridge's book 'Animal Locomotion' is a collector's item, of course. Plates from it fetch thousands at auction.

 

Thanks for the information Mark! Very interesting man I see. The father of cinema, they call him.


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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:31 AM

Shoot at various frame rates, say 6-12pps, with a small shutter opening so you get sharp frames. Or shoot at 24 and extract every other or 3rd frame, or at 48 and extract every 8th, 6th and 4th.

Even my DSLR will do it at 3, 6 and 10pps.

 



Anyone any idea how to make something like this today? Imo it's a very interesting experiment.

 

 

 


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#6 Sander Moyson

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 06:35 AM

 

Shoot at various frame rates, say 6-12pps, with a small shutter opening so you get sharp frames. Or shoot at 24 and extract every other or 3rd frame, or at 48 and extract every 8th, 6th and 4th.

Even my DSLR will do it at 3, 6 and 10pps.

 



Anyone any idea how to make something like this today? Imo it's a very interesting experiment.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Mark, I'll try it and show or talk about the results here.


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#7 John E Clark

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Posted 01 April 2015 - 11:31 AM

 

Anyone any idea how to make something like this today? Imo it's a very interesting experiment.

 

The technique used by Muybridge was to line up a number of cameras, and have each camera triggered as the moving subject passed the camera.

 

This technique has been used in recent times with a number of 35mm DSLR Still Cameras, being 'ganged' to controls such that they will record the motion of the subject, usually in major 'action' shots, and with editing gives the impression of a fast (or slow) movement around the subject.

 

Here's an example article for a surf promo/ad segment.

 

http://petapixel.com...-surfing-shots/

 

5darray.jpg


Edited by John E Clark, 01 April 2015 - 11:32 AM.

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#8 Simon Wyss

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Posted 02 April 2015 - 02:01 AM

Sander, you speak of early film experiments. You should know that it all begins with the invention of the flexible transparent photographic film by Hannibal Goodwin.

 

Louis Le Prince used paper film in 1888, most probably celluloïd film in 1889 or 1890.

 

It was evident that a mechanical reference is necessary for steadiness. Green in England allegedly has had paper strips perforated since 1885. Demeny in France perforated film in 1893, Dickson with Edison at the latest also in that year.

 

The border between chronophotography and cinematography lies in the possibility to record and display long scenes. For that the compensating film loop had to be thought out, the invention of Eugène A. Lauste, 1895.

 

A standard frame rate of 1000 per minute was agreed upon with the Paris international meeting of film producers in 1907. So you have 20 years of evolvement of the technique. A projector from 1907 comprises everything we need to screen a film still today.

 

Synchronous sound was added during the twenties, settled in 1930. Colours took even more time since the early systems before WWI and the worldwide introduction between 1932 and 1939.


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#9 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 03 April 2015 - 05:25 PM

 

Lately, I came across this video on youtube about Gilles Deleuze's Film Theory.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=zaXQdjMxG6E

 

what it is that makes these movements so beautiful?

 

In my view, it has something to do with the materiality of the filmprocess 

 

 

That was a very interesting little lecture.  He spoke well.  Deleuze is on my radar for a further look.

 

What people normally think of as film language is a sophisticated evolved construction.  Hidden beneath this are principals of a more primal nature.  To dive into that,  the prerequisite may just be simple clarity of experience.  How to prepare for that?  Do we read books on film theory,  or the Upanishads.  Do we find a cave and close our eyes,  transcend gross experience.

 

It would be a great crime,  though there are so many great crimes of this type in the modern world,  to try and extract usefull mannerisms from the potent ideas you point to.  But it will happen.  Don't let it be you.  Step one,  do some experiments with film (emulsion) to discover the phenomena for yourself.

 

There is a difference between a direct impression (a photograph) and an automated simulation (a digital impression as the digital camera takes it).

If the difference between these two is not clear,  you will fall in with the mannerists,  the pretenders.


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#10 Josh Gladstone

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:06 PM

Just wanted to add that today is Eadweard Muybridge's birthday! He was born in 1830.

 

Interesting guy, he was convinced his son was another man's (even though the kid apparently grew up to look just like him), and murdered the man in cold blood. At trial, he pled not guilty by reason of mental illness, but the jury rejected that and, ignoring the judge's orders, acquitted him on grounds of justifiable homicide.


Edited by Josh Gladstone, 09 April 2015 - 02:07 PM.

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#11 Carl Looper

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 08:32 PM

It is somewhat misguided of the posted video to use animated images as a backdrop for Deleusian film theory.  And the commentary in the video is all over the shop in terms of connecting with Deleuzian film theory in any substantial way. I'm a fan of Deleuze, but not of the posted video and it's author.

 

A very important point in Deleuze is that the movement-image is not to be found in still images. That said, to animate such images does bring us back somewhat to Deleuze's movement-image. But not entirely because in Deleuze, the movement-image precedes the still image. By this can be understood that still images are a secondary effect, brought about by an act of decomposing what is firstly a movement image. In the case of Muybridge the movement-image is not there (not yet understood) for the images were displayed in space - not time: be it in a book or on a gallery wall. The cinema is not yet invented. It is invented at the moment that the reverse proposition (the movement-image as origin) is understood.

 

The animation of photographs tends to works against this idea.  It becomes far more suggestive of the opposite concept: where the cinema would be (mis)understood (even more so today) as animated photography. However the animation of (Muybridge) photography wasn't actually done until after the invention of cinema. It is the movement-image that drives a re-take on Muybridge photography, converting it into a movement-image, but in doing so re-positioning Muybridge as a precursor to cinema. It is however not a precursor to cinema, but an after effect of it.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 10 April 2015 - 08:35 PM.

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#12 Carl Looper

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:07 PM

Deleuze makes an important point about someone, on examining a film strip for the first time, could not understand it: it seemed to him an endless sequence of photographs separated in space. The important distinguishing factor in a Deleuzian take on cinema is that the cinema is not to be found in a film strip. It is to be found when the filmstrip is run through a projector. The projector removes the space that otherwise separates each frame in the film strip - effectively decoding the filmstrip: reconstructing the movement-image. The sequence of still photographs in a filmstrip constitutes an encoding of the movement-image. The cinema is not to be found in this encoding, but in it's decoding: in the movement-image.

 

In Deleuze there is also a certain equivalence to be suggested between materials and images - between objects and impressions of such objects. This equivalence goes back to the Stoics who considered objects as no different from a sense impression of them. In Stoic philosophy they become the same thing. This concept remains as radical today as it ever was. We otherwise tend to treat images as a kind of side effect of something other than an image - a something more substantial than the image. But in Deleuze there is a rejection of this "something more substantial". The image becomes equally the substantial thing since it is no different from the object which otherwise claims such substantiality. There is a rejection of "depth" and a re-appreciation of the surface. In Deleuze the superficial is no longer a dirty word but an aspiration. 

 

To do this Deleuze effectivly redefines the meaning of the word "image". Images are given much wider scope than they normally have. The universe as an image. But in saying this it's not to suggest the universe is, for example, a painting or a photograph or a computer simulation (The Matrix) - rather it is to suggest the reverse: a photograph as a universe, a painting as a universe, a film as a universe, each being part of an even larger image (larger universe). An expansion of the image, rather than a reduction of the universe (to some narrow definition of an image).

 

C


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#13 Carl Looper

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:32 PM

The use of the term "movement-image" in Deleuze is not to be confused with terms such as "motion picture" or "moving picture" used in English. The terminology is specifically designed to differ from these terms and the concepts they otherwise suggest. In other words, "movement-image" is not some side-effect of translating "motion-picture"  into French and back again. Deleuze goes to quite some trouble to differentiate "movement-image" from such confusion. Nevertheless many skip such a distinction and prefer to read Deleuze as some sort of muddled version of English/American film theory.

 

The worst offender with respect to French theory is the otherwise highly respectable and intelligent thinker: Noam Chomsky. A complete and utter racist when it comes to the French. It's quite an obnoxious trait in  an otherwise great thinker.

 

C


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#14 Simon Wyss

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 01:02 AM

Zoopraxiscope


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#15 Carl Looper

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 02:20 AM

Zoopraxiscope

 

Animated drawings.

 

Yes, the cinema might be said to be prefigured in such. A kind of prototype, or proof of concept, using drawings. But its also not yet the cinema - but another kind of object- setting up the individual drawings as something to be admired as much as the effect through the shutter - a kind of celebration of the difference. A bit of both - the art of still images and the art of a movement-image - how one can become the other - a movement back and forth across the divide. There is an emphasis on the movement being considered an illusion and the drawings the reality behind such an illusion. Something the cinema itself will not pursue except in certain experimental works that will insist on maintaining that movement is an illusion.

 

There's an interesting question as to Neipce's first photograph. Is it the photoetching he did first, of a drawing (of the pope) or the one he made out the window of a live scene. I'd suggest it's the live scene that inaugurates photography. It is the idea of nature itself, drawing itself, onto the plate, that becomes photography.

 

In the cinema it is likewise a live scene, drawing itself on the screen, via the encoding/decoding machinery (camera/projector), that constitutes the cinema proper.

 

Before this is a kind of deconstruction of the cinema - the various elements in disparate orbit - not yet understood in terms of the nucleus to which it will return for the first time and from which it had never been.

 

So to speak.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 11 April 2015 - 02:23 AM.

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