These "animated records" are a modern form of phenakistoscope, an early animation device which creates the illusion of a moving picture when a flicker blurs its rotation.
To view with a camera
To view the effect through a camera phone, place the disc on the turntable at the proper speed under a bright light. The shutter will blend the frames together to form a cohesive image on the screen.
(The brighter the light, the clearer the image will appear, so try to use as many light sources as possible for the best results!)
To view with a strobe light app
You can also view the effect with the naked eye through the use of a strobe light or strobe light app set to 30Hz. (It's important to be 30Hz to mimic the 30FPS shutter.) Strobe Light Tachometer is one of my favorite strobe apps on the iPhone, but any app which can be set to 30Hz should work.
Point the flash at your spinning turntable to see the moving picture. A darker room can provide higher contrast, so try turning out the lights for a clearer image.
Tips & troubleshooting
- The most important part of getting a clear image is bright, direct light. Even turning on your phone flash or bringing over an extra lamp can greatly improve your results, so try to use as many lights as possible!
- If you don't have extra lights, you can get a little extra sharpness by lowering the exposure/brightness of the camera. (To do this on an iPhone, tap an area of the screen to focus on. A square should appear around the focal point with a sun icon beside it. Drag the sun down the slider to lower the exposure.)
- You can also decrease blurriness by setting the focus of the camera before pressing play. Using a tripod (or something to rest your phone on) makes this much easier.
- If the shapes appear to be moving too quickly, your turntable may be set to the wrong speed. See if it looks better when you switch to 33 or 45RPM.
- You will most likely get the best results with your phone about a foot away from the animation. Try moving the phone a few inches closer or further to tune in the best view for you.
Here are a few extra tutorials for specific records: