Tuesday, March 14, 2006

research: timelapse - histories 101

Timelapse - not a genre unto itself (yet), rather a technique, a process.... the history of timelapse begins conjoined with the history of cinema (ie pre-cinema techniques of capturing movement) and diverges from cinema neecessarialy at the point when naturalistic frame-rate techniques were established, thereby producing 'natural movement' within cinema...


"Étienne-Jules Marey (1830 – 1904) was a French scientist and chronophotographer. His work was significant to the development of cardiology, physical instrumentation, aviation, cinematography and the science of labor photography. He is widely considered to be a pioneer of photography and an influential pioneer of the history of cinema." - wikipedia

Marey did studies of motion which comprised multiple phases of motion into the one image via multiple exposures (i think)... chronography being animated photography - and specifically nultiple phases of motion within one image - flickr chrono group here - but its all pshop nowadays...

"Eadweard Muybridge (1830 – 1904) was a British-born photographer, known primarily for his early use of multiple cameras to capture motion." - wikipedia

this was pretty much the dude as far as motion studies went - unlike marey he didnt compile them into the one frame, but kept them seperate - his initial experiment with motion capture is a pretty incredible story:

"In 1872, businessman and former California governor Leland Stanford hired Muybridge to settle a question (not a bet, as is popularly believed): Stanford claimed, contrary to popular belief, that there was a point in a horse's full gallop when all four hooves were off the ground. By 1878, Muybridge had successfully photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of fifty cameras. Each of the cameras were arranged along a track parallel to the horse's, and each of the camera shutters were controlled by trip wires which were triggered by the horse's hooves. This series of photos, taken at what is now Stanford University, is called The Horse in Motion" - wikipedia

so muybridge was really at the forefront of biomechanics - ie the study of mechanics of living organisms - just like the unwitting Theo Jansen -

book about muybridge by Rebecca Solnit (apperently quite good) here

"Georges Méliès
(1861 – 1938), was a French filmmaker famous for leading many technical and narrative developments in the earliest cinema. He was very innovative in the use of special effects. He accidentally discovered the stop trick, or substitution, in 1896, and was one of the first filmmakers to use multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color in his films." -

have been thinking about the nature of timelapse - ie the packets of time that it represents are beyond reality - ie natural rate of time, so we percieve it as almost a catalogue of time - interesting also that slow-motion is acceptable as reality within cinema (it can be percieved as a hyper-sensitive state) - ie it doesnt detract from our perception of the rate of action... we accept that it is a heightened state of awareness, as happens in a crisis situation (car crash, long fall etc)... also, sped-up motion is sometimes acceptable... however - timelapse is percieved as holding more significant weight within the passing of time, and therefore doesnt really work in the same way.... or is it just the jumpiness of motion?

I have found multiple references to koyanisquatsii being the first feature film to utilise timelapse, altho peter greenway apparently did also in a zero and two noughts...

as to the 'how to' of timelapse, i think this is the best explaination page so far here

need to:
- read all the timelapse stuff i have
- look for leads on timelapse in use where the passing of time is just accepted by the viewer and the focus of the animation is not tainted by the viewer being overly-aware of the passing of time (or do they all do that?)

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