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360+ people wanted for a #HumanInvertedZoetrope

August 16, 2010

We’re going to make a short film this weekend and we’d love your help. A Zoetrope is a device which gives the illusion of action from static pictures..  a basic form of animation. I’ve always personally loved Jim Le Fevre’s Phonotrope take on this form of film.

Our mission (developed with the help of Adam from Ordnance Survey) is a little different though.

The plan is to get 360 people, with 360 cameras, at 360 different degrees, standing on the circumference of a circle with a radius of 29 metres and facing inwards. Someone or something will be at the centre of the circle doing stuff.. while a sequenced wave of photographs (one-by-one) will be taken of what is going on at the centre of the circle.

If you don’t have 360+ people that’s fine.. you will probably be able to pull it off with just one… side stepping 360 times and taking 360 photos around the 360 degrees of the circle.

Here are the steps to take part.

Stuff you need: Cameras (anything will do), 29 and a bit metres of rope, people and a location.

1. Get as many people together as you can. Tweeting with the snapped #HumanInvertedZoetrope is a good way to go along with the #tag for your city. If you let us know the location where you will be we can list it on this post too.

2. Get a peg and 29 (and a bit) metres of string or rope. Peg the string to the centre of where you want your circle to be. Hold the rope taut and walk a full circle marking (with chalk, rice, twigs) as you go. If you want you could mark out the 360 degrees too.

3. Think of something cool to animate in the centre of your circle (you might want to do this in advance). It could be anything from a person dancing like a nervous pigeon to a giant balloon taking off. Get it set up.

4. Ask your collaborators to stand on the outside of the circle.. going from shortest to tallest and then back down to smallest again so that the photo’s don’t jump up and down during playback.

5. Go around the circle taking a photo one after the other in a wave. Depending on what you are animating and how many of you there are this may be done quickly or slowly.

6. You could now go to another location or change what is happening in the centre of the circle and and repeat steps 1 to 5.

7. Upload all of your photo’s to the Human Inverted Zoetrope group on Flickr (, remembering to tag and name your image file with a location name and frame number (frame 7/360). If you are not on Flickr we can upload your images for you. All images should be uploaded by Sunday night ready to be played with over the following week.

8. Either use the images to make your own film (QuickTime Pro will be handy) or sit back and wait for us to do it. Either way, please share your efforts in the Flickr group and credit Mission:Explore for helping to make it all happen!


If you are in London

If you are in London I will be at this bandstand in Hyde Park at 3:60 (4pm) on Saturday 21.08.2010. Anyone is welcome (especially if you have a camera) and if all goes well we can do Human Inverted Zoetrope in a couple of other London locations too.

If you are not in London

Let us know where you are making your HIZ by commenting on this page or Tweeting with #HumanInvertedZoetrope, which you can also use to team up with people where you are.

I hope this all makes sense. If not, let me know and I’ll try and shape it all up a little.

Finally, if you like this mission you should check out the work we are doing with Mission:Explore London.

RSVP on Facebook and/or Tweetup!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 01:45

    Fun idea. I’d be in but sadly I’m in the US. Can’t wait to see the final product. Good luck!

    • August 17, 2010 07:25

      Hey Brooke – thanks. You know, you can join in from anywhere in the world…

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