Cinema of Attractions

Principle of animation: persistent of vision.

Persistent of vision works because the human eye and brain can only process 10 to 12 separate images per second, retaining an image for roughly 1/20 of a second after the object is gone, in this period of time it will create the illusion of continuity. If the pictures appear faster than 12 per second they begin to merge into each other creating the illusion of movement. Television and movies are usually created at 24 to 30 images per second.

Cinema of Attractions

The term ‘cinema of attraction’ can be clarified as: “a cinema that displays it’s visibility, willing to rupture a self-enclosed fictional world for a chance to solicit the attention of the spectator.” (Tom Gunning) This meaning that cinema could be created, not necessarily as an entertainment function but more along the lines that a film would attract it’s viewers by presenting something exclusive and unique.

Gunning discusses the eye contact made by the camera and the actors, breaking down the ‘realist illusion’ of the cinema. This eye contact with the camera gives the viewer the sense that they in turn are being watched by what they are watching making them self aware as an audience.

Features of cinema of attractions

  • Spectacle over narrative

Theatrical display dominates over narrative absorption, emphasising the direct stimulation of shock or surprise (Gunning 1986:384)

Willing to rupture a self-enclosed fictional world for a chance to solicit the attention of the spectator (Gunning 1986:382)

  • About the relationship and interaction with the audience e.g. the actors looking to camera — look to the audience
  • “Trick film”/ magical attractions / display eg ‘Trip to the Moon’ (1902)
  • The experience of viewing
  • The use of close up

What is Stop-Motion? 

Stop motion is the basis of animation. Stop motion is a form of animation that relies on photographs of still objects to create movement. Objects are manipulated and photographed sequentially. When the photographs move together in a quick sequence (like in a film) it creates the illusion of movement. This similar to the way a flip-book works. Clay figures are often used in stop-motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop-motion animation using clay is called Clay-Mation.

  • winsor_mccay___gertie_the_dinosaur_by_morteneng21-d75slyy

    Windsor McCay ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ 1914 In 1914 McCay, using drawing and the stop-motion technique, created the first character-based cartoon called ‘Gertie the Dinosaur.’ The first film to combine live action footage with hand drawn animation. Approximately 5 minutes long, contains 10,000 drawings.


    Emile Cohl ‘Fantasmagorie’ 1908   Made up of 700 drawings, each of which was double exposed (animated on twos), leading to a running time of almost 2 minutes.


    Wallace and Gromit




    Davey and Goliath

Famous Clay-Mation 

  • Early: During the late 1950s and early 1960s Davey and Goliath were featured on television which was show for children.
  • Mid: Gumby was a show that premiered on Saturday morning TV in the 1970s and 1980s for children.
  • Modern: Wallace and Gromit are popular claymation characters today.

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