Sunday, 12 January 2014

Lotte Reiniger

Reiniger is a pioneer in the technique of cutout animation and her most well known animation "The adventures of Prince Achmed"  which is regarded as the earliest surviving animated film. All original copies of the animation were destroyed during World War II, however a print was later found in the British Film Institute archive in 1954. This then resulted in further prints being made but the original colours where lost as they were originally hand tinted, and was finally restored in 1970.
Reiniger was heavily influenced by the traditional Asian shadow puppets, which she used her inspiration to create these intricate and delicate cutout silhouettes.

I found it interesting that her animated film did not find a distributor for a year until it was shown at a film festival which gained an immediate following by the public. Her film was also the first to use a form of multiplane camera, 10 years ahead of Disney. Multiplane camera is a technique used to give the illusion of depth to a traditional 2-D animation. This can be achieved by using different distances from the camera, for example one silhouette could be right next to the camera in the foreground and another in the background. Another way to achieve the illusion of depth is to use vanishing points with in the background image or even making the background image slightly transparent to show more silhouettes behind the main focus.

I love Reinigers use of detail through the whiteout spaces of the silhouette which leaves you imagining what colour the world she has created could be, what colour and pattern the characters clothing could hold. I love the design in one of her shorter animated films, 'Daumelinchen', which holds more detail with in the background and whiteout of the silhouettes.

(source: The World History of Animation by Steven Cavalier, Page 88-91)

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