So I was kindly donated an oscilloscope the other day – a funky little analogue device that looks like it might be used for busting ghosts…

Turns out it is actually a nifty gadget for measuring voltage – creating a changeable line on the graph for DC and AC to get accurate readings.

DC gives you a flatline with it’s steady constant flow – AC gives you various – & + curves as it alternates back and fourth – but where it gets real trippy is music – where it becomes an oldschool audio visualiser

This is all to do with the fast flow of electricity (usually reading points at 48,000 times per second) to pull the magnets in a cone to create a push of air imitating the sound it original recorded – so I get the sound element of it to some degree, but the gap in my knowledge is – well – what’s electricity?

While we’re on old school – here’s some classy education to start me from the ground up…



to be completed soon…


So far, like all bad filmmakers, I have neglected sound a lot… The truth is audiences are happier watch bad visuals with great audio than vice versa.

Here is the first ever recorded sound – someone signing Au Clair De La Lune:

Edouard Leon Scott de Martinville recorded this with his invention, the phonautograph – a device which drew a line attached to a membrane that vibrated from sound waves, by drawing the movement of the sound it was able to be reproduced by scratching the markings into a material that could then reverse the process and move a diaphragm recreating the noise, then amplified by a large cone that bounces the sound waves along making them bigger


Eadward Muybridge was a well known experimental photographer – here is a panorama of San Francisco he created…

and another of his inventions – the zoopraxiscope – an early movement illusion much like a zoetrope

And he also did some incredible things with early three dimension illusions in photography:

The rich gentry, with time to gamble on the races, had begun to argue about the correct way in which there commissioned painters captured their horses. The human eye is not possible to see the exact details of how they move – whether all feet leave the ground at once or one or two have contact at all times… see for yourself:

So Muybridge got involved to do a thorough scientific investigation – allowing him to invent a way of having cameras lined up to take images triggered by the horse running into a thread – when all the images were put together – a flickbook effect was possible and the movement was captured against measuring charts to have as a reference…

This led to a comprehensive series of locomotion studies using this technique – using circus animals and actors to analyse movements…

The only major development with some movements was to lose the triggering mechanism and redesign it on clockwork to create a frame rate…

These collection of motions have been a reference for animators ever since – and the concept of separate cameras creating each frame came back full circle with the concept of bullet-time


While photography is the obvious precursor to filmmaking – the motion element called for a different approach to move on from the chronophotographe shooting many slices of time onto one frame.

A key element was the mechanics to have a rapid pull down -stop – pull down – stop regulated system – so where else to develop it from but sewing machines!


Étienne-Jules Marey invented this 12 frames a second camera in 1882. Like a cinematic DaVinci he was curious to take apart the anatomy, aviation and structure… wanting to analyse it using photography. 

Creating the Chronophotographe made it possible to capture locomotion by taking frames in quick succession all onto one image, which gives this ghosting effect of staggered movement…

SHOOTING FORMATS #0.7: Film stock

Film has developed a new meaning as a verb – to film… but the origins come from the material – a thin sheet. This thin sheet has had lots of incarnations, starting with fragile paper and moving to flammable celluloid (see ‘Inglourious Basterds’ or ‘Cinema Paradiso’ for memorable onscreen film fires…

Gelatine was used as a way of creating a colloid for the light sensitive chemicals – (a colloid is a mixture where one ingredient is suspended with equal spacing in the other – just as milk is butter fats suspended in water) here is a disturbing video about how gelatine is made, from a human point of view the invention of digital cinemtography is great as it reduces the mediums connection to boiled animal bits. Think twice before you chew on cheap gelatine sweets!

The old nitrate flammable films were prone to deteriorate – leading to lots of old film reels to turn to a vinegar smelling dust in the can.

Stocks are given names by a mixture of there chemical properties – light sensitivity – company-brand name and the size of the stock – coming in standard fittings for the manufacture of the standard gate sizes in cameras ie, 35mm, S/16mm, s/8mm 9-1/2mm 72mm etc.

SHOOTING FORMATS #0.6.1: Subtractive colour

To understand more about colour, first it’s essential to know how we perceive it… here is a talk on it…

SHOOTING FORMATS #0.6: the three-colour-method

1850’s attempts at colour did not work out due to a stuck way of thinking that there was a need to find chemicals that would react to coloured light and recreate – much like chameleon skin.

What actually ended up being the solution was having a colour theorist – James Clerk Maxwell, who had discovered the eye has cone shaped cells, three kinds with each more reactive to different spectrums of light giving humans the perception of colour. Here is a photograph of the cones also with rods (but lets ignore those for now) under the microscope.

These cells contain chemicals that are able to sense light – humans have three different types of cones…

Each type of the three cones is more sensitive to a different band on the spectrum of light

So using this theory of three sets of sensitivity to blue green and red that the human eye uses – James Clerk Maxwell took an image three times using coloured filters to block that colour of light, the latent image would for each would not include that information on the black and white image. Combining the three negative images by putting them on slides and projecting them to the same spot with the same colour filtration that was blocked created a fairly accurate three tone colour image – here is the first one ever recorded…

This monochromatic data can then be processed with chemicals and dyes to create a final photograph, as illustrated below…


SHOOTING FORMATS #0.5: Collodion Process

In the early 19th Century photographers used the collodion process, this video below does a great job in showing it hands on.

The results are amazing!

An outstanding look from an old school technique – image courtesy of Quinn Jacobson who still uses the Colloidol Wet Plate to great effect.

The above photo is taken by Quinn Jacobson who is a modern master of this technique –

check out his site http://studioq.com/

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