Sunday, August 17, 2008

Night on a Bare Mountain

Alex Alexeieff and Claire Parker made this 1933 version of "Night on a Bare Mountain" before Disney's 1940 version in "Fantasia".

This is a little hard to watch because of the image degradation and size but you can still make out the wonderful dimensionality of some of the figures as they morph and rotate. This is quite an accomplishment considering their method of generating these images was using frames with hundreds of pins pushed through a screen. The depth of the pins determined how much light or shadow was created in the overall image. It appears to me that some of these images were superimposed or matted into a model village. I also think the scarecrow flapping in the breeze was life action but the metamorphose is animation.

Another rare treat I've read about and wanted to see for years. Isn't YouTube great?


r8r said...

I love that pin-screen animation. What a huge range of middle grays it has! This looks quite European, as if it were made in Germany or Hungary.

The same early 30's period that produced Betty Boop and Popeye in the US, right?

Joel Brinkerhoff said...

Yes, these were done when the commercial studios were doing main-stream works. These guys were in it for the 'art'. They also did a version of Nicolai Gogol's "The Nose" which is quite striking in the same push-pin style.