Dorothy’s Shoes

Working on the vertical axis zoopraxiscope, has been challenging. To simplify the concept, I’ve broken it down into a few key elements.

But first!

The less commonly heard-of phenakistoscope consists of a disk that one spins and holds up to a mirror. On one side of the disk (the side facing the mirror), there are animation panels all around the border. Between each panel is a thin slot cut through the disk. As the disk spins, the viewer looks through the slots. For most of the time, their vision is blocked. When it isn’t, they get a quick “snapshot” of one of the panels.

Comparing the phenakistoscope, the zoetrope and a movie projector, a few common things emerge…

  • A series of animation panels
  • An eye or a light
  • Something that blocks the eye or light so that the transitions between the animation panels are not blurry

There are various ways of including that last element in my project. A slotted opaque disk the same size as the animation disk could spin at the same speed but opposite direction as the other disk, only letting the light through at significant moments. A similar opaque disk, but this time with holes instead of slots, and moving in the same direction as the animation disk, might also work. Finally, the light could actually just blink. However, the speed of the blinking would have to vary depending on the speed of rotation of the animation disk. This done with a circuit with a rotary switch type system where the rotary switch is spun by the same axel that is powered by the wind and that is spinning the animation disk. Considering all this, the simplest option is the opaque disk with the holes in it.

Further experimentation will have to be done in order to determine the optimal distances between the light, the two disks and the ground, as well as the brightness of the light.

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