What is a Zoetrope?
The Zoetrope is a primitive optical device, which was invented around 1834, before the film was. It brings cartoon figures on a paper stripe to life as if by magic. It shows simple repetitive movements of one second such as walking, waving, hopping, opening and closing etc..
What do we do in the Zoetrope workshop?
In the Zoetrope workshop we work with different animation techniques, such as cartoon, cut-out and object animation.
Each participant creates one-second animations of repetitive movements on a paper strip. She or he tests and presents her or his animation on historical optical devices such as a Zoetrope or Praxinoscope. Usually, each person manages to create at least one or two animation strips in four hours.
In a workshop lasting several days, participants also draw or model their animation on paper or cork discs and show their animation in motion with the help of strobe lights.
Or they create their animation on a transparent strip, similar to an old film strip. The result is projected onto a mini-screen with a primitive projection device.
Duration of the workshop and number of participants
The workshop is suitable for a larger number of participants, e. g. school classes. The minimum duration of the Zoetrope workshop is four hours with up to 30 participants. If there are more than 15 participants, two people work on one animation strip. This way I can advise each group sufficiently. For more than 30 participants, a minimum of 6 hours workshop duration is required.
Public presentation of the results
After the Zoetrope workshop the results can be shown to all participants, teachers and guests on the devices.
After about five workshop days, many more results can be presented to the public in an extraordinary audiovisual performance called The Spinning Animation Show.
TV reports, making-ofs and reports
In a project on the city history of Straubing, trainees of the technical and vocational secondary school – FOSBOS in Straubing created 80 animations symbolically representing historical events in the city under my direction in a Zoetrope workshop that lasted several months. We presented the animations with Zoetropes, Praxinoscopes and other optical effects in a 40-minute Spinning Animation Show, so called The Spinning History. Watch two TV reports.
For inspiration, there are more of my Spinning Animation Shows on Vimeo.
Read my experience reports about my past Zoetrope workshops.