The iloobia guide to the perfect ‘Tokyo Run’ Zoetrope experience


Do you own a Tokyo Run vinyl zoetrope LP? If so this guide from iloobia (he who created zoetrope out of the film) will help you experience its full potential….

Once you set your zoetrope picture disc in motion, you wont immediately be able to see the animations spring to life.
This is because your brain needs to separate the moving images so they are not just one big blur.
In order to see the animation on the disc, you need to trick your eyes into separating the moving images.

There are at least three different methods to do this –

1 – A round piece of card with slits cut into it
This approach is closest to the way a traditional zoetrope would work.
It is a little clumsy, takes a little time to prepare and does not create as clear a visualisation as methods 2 or 3; nonetheless it does work and reveals a fundamental truth as to how the whole effect works on your brain.
You need to measure out a circle of card a little larger than the diameter of the turntable and cut evenly spaced slits out all around it, ideally to match the number of pictures around the zoetrope image.
The card is then stuck on top of a raised tube sitting in the middle of the record player.
Look at the disc through the slits as it turns and the animation will spring to life.
The reason for the slots is to simulate flashes of light, creating a strobe, as the images you see must be interrupted by moments of darkness in order for the illusion to work


2 – Using a strobe light
A far more direct way to create the necessary strobe effect is to use a strobe light itself if you have one.
In this case you will need to be in a darkened room and switch the strobe light on near to the turntable.
Carefully adjusting the strobe frequency will eventually find a sweet spot where the picture disc will visibly animate.
Slowing or speeding up the frequency of the strobe from that position will create slow down or speed up effects in the action.
Be aware that for some people, even if they are not epileptic, spending any prolonged time in the dark with a strobe light can cause disorientation, dizziness or even induce a seizure.

3 – Setting a digital or video camera to a high shutter speed.
By far the most rewarding, immediate and safe way of seeing the animation manifest is indirectly through a digital camera.
Ideally a shutter speed of around 500 or above is required to really see the action clearly.
Bear in mind the higher your shutter speed is set the more light you need, so a table lamp positioned close to the vinyl while you film can really help boost the light levels.
Depending on whether the turntable is set to 33rpm or 45rpm, you will get a different look to the way the disc animates.
Also, try changing the shutter speed as you look through the preview screen on the camera to see how it affects the clarity and appearance of the animation, and if you have a pitch adjuster on the turntable, that can be used to make the animation appear to slightly rush or slightly drag, depending on where you set it.
Ultimately, there is no one absolutely correct setting, it’s all about experimenting and tweaking until you get an effect you are happy with.
And by using a camera to view the animating disc, you can directly record all your experiments as you go, so you can make your own zoetrope video mash-up like in the video above.

Music from video + original prototype:


Many thanks to iloobia for his work on this project and the above guide

You can check out more from iloobia  here or here


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