Apr 23, 2011

Pas de Deux

Where would we be without Adobe today? How could we possibly manipulate images?

Well, in case you have already forgotten--I know I sometimes do--it bears mentioning that people have been doing the same things we're doing with Photoshop long before Photoshop came along.

Norman McLaren's "Pas de Deux" (1968) is truly a masterpiece of image manipulation. The title is the name of a type of ballet dance danced by two (French for "steps of two").

McLaren shot the film with strong side-lighting, and later layered different sequences by using optical printing. Today, we can basically imitate the same effect with a few clicks of the mouse. The computer crunches some numbers, and--voila!--there's your film.

Pas de Deux, Norman MCLAREN, 1967 by shortanimatedworld

But what you lose in the process is an understanding of what exactly is happening to the film.

McLaren's firm understanding of the mechanics of film are demonstrated in the range of techniques employed in his films. Take "Neighbors" (1952) on the one hand, a film made using stop-motion animation, and compare it to "Begone Dull Care" (1949), an abstract animation made by making marks right on the film.

McLaren is a tremendously versatile filmaker with a great understanding images, sounds, and the intersect. Take a lesson from this Scottish-Canadien fellow.



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  2. Wow! that looks amazing. I can not imagine the level of training that goes into making something like that.