Stop motion animation hits our hearts like no other medium. When we think stop motion, usually Wallace and Gromit comes to mind, or maybe The Nightmare Before Christmas, or even Fantastic Mr. Fox. One of my personal favorites as a kid was the 1964 stop motion feature of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - the magic of image and sound of this movie enthralled me to no end and I watched it repeatedly over weeks.
When I made a lightfield stop motion last year, it was a daunting experiment to see if this magic could carry over to the holographic medium. While a stop motion animation is frame by frame images that piece together to create video, a holographic stop motion is quilt by quilt - meaning that I actually needed to take 45 images of each frame to create the 3D equivalent of a 2D stop motion frame. And full disclosure: other than the sporadic vine videos I made in undergrad for laughs, this would be my very first stop motion attempt.
With the help of Evan Kahn, I set up an iPhone lightfield rail that would allow me to take 45 images of my scene. Wanting to keep it simple (as we do with proof of concepts, amiright), I scored some dinosaurs from the nearby toy store, popped some googly eyes on their faces to give them character, and bought fake turf to help sell its fictional world.
It took a very, very long time to shoot and then convert into just 52 frames for a video. I made many mistakes over the week and a half it took me to shoot. My lighting is inconsistent and at one point the rail was accidentally moved from its location (so the framing is not consistent). My skills at moving the characters were mediocre at best.
But it was so very worth it. Because there is definitely something amazing about stop motion in the Looking Glass, despite all of the hiccups.
Stop motion enchants our hearts as it breathes life into still objects and photographs through the invisible, careful manipulations of the artists that create them. Holograms enchant us as light and images that exist in the 3D world with us, in our reality. Stop motion and holograms, in essence, have a very similar characteristic: they're magic.
**this is part of our “100 Days of Holograms” series, where a few of us in the team at Looking Glass Factory post one new wonderful or weird (or both!) use for the Looking Glass holographic display being conjured around the world each day.