Animated Records

In 2016 I became fascinated with an early animation device known as a “phenakistoscope.” This pre-cinema animation technique used a disc which created the illusion of motion when viewed through a spinning frame.

While this curious home media format fell by the wayside with the rise of film projector, the analog animation can still be seen with the help of a turntable & a camera phone. When viewed under a bright light, the RPM of the record player syncs up with the shutter speed of the camera, causing the frames to blend together into a seamless animation. (You can also use a strobe light flashing at 30Hz to witness the effect with the naked eye.)

If you’re curious about the science & process behind phenakistoscopes, you might want to read this tutorial I wrote for Make. It also includes 3 free downloadable phenakistoscopes to try at home.
More DIY downloads can also be found on my Gumroad page for free (or pay-what-you-want.)
I love collaborating on art with musicians, & have worked with bands such as They Might Be Giants, Daedelus, Cornelius, and more. If you’re interested in an animation for your upcoming LP (or any other kind of artwork,) please feel free to drop me a line.

I’ve been compiling my experiments with the medium on Instagram under the hashtag #tetzoscope, please check my Instagram feed for the latest.

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