Phonotrope

The technique of creating animation in a 'live' environment using the confluence of the frame rate of a live-action camera and the revolutions of a constantly rotating disc.

The Phonotrope is the term coined by animation director Jim Le Fevre to describe the technique of creating animation in a 'live' environment using the confluence of the frame rate of a live-action camera and the revolutions of a constantly rotating disc, predominantly (but not exclusively) using a record player.

It is a contemporary reworking of the zoetrope, one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion.

The crucial difference between the technique that the Phonotrope uses and the one a zoetrope uses is that the Phonotrope is specifically an in-camera technique using the frame-rate of a live-action camera set to high shutter speed in confluence with a constantly rotating disc to create the illusion of movement. In a zoetrope, it is the vertical slits around the drum or the flashes of a stroboscope that create the 'interruptions' needed to create the illusion of movement. As such the Phonotrope can only be seen through either the camera's viewfinder, a connected monitor, or projector or viewed as footage after the event.

From its inception the most commonly used methods of rotating the disc have been using a record-player however Le Fevre has used a pottery wheel to spin a glazed pot to create an animation as well as using a bespoke motor to animate hundreds of cut-out card images on a two-meter-high (6.6 ft) wooden tiered structure for the title sequence for the BBC television comedy film Holy Flying Circus.

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Phonotrope
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Adapted from content published on wikipedia.org
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  • Image By Jimlefevre - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 — from wikimedia.org
Last modified on August 12, 2020, 2:03 am
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