Amazing workshop at LPGS Visual Arts Department today led by inspirational animation artist and lecturer Jim Le Ferve from the Univeristy of Creative Arts. Over the last year we have developed a partnership with UCA and our students are very fortunate to work with such talented practising artists as Jim who come into LPGS and share their wealth of experience and knowledge with our young aspiring creative students.

What is a Phonotrope?

The Phonotrope is the term coined by animation director Jim Le Fevre to describe the technique of creating animation in a 'live' environment using the confluence of the frame rate of a live action camera and the revolutions of a constantly rotating disc, predominantly (but not exclusively) using a record player.

It is a contemporary reworking of the zoetrope, one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion.

The crucial difference between the technique that the Phonotrope uses and the one a zoetrope uses is that the Phonotrope is specifically an in-camera technique using the frame-rate of a live-action camera set to a high shutter speed in confluence with a constantly rotating disc to create the illusion of movement. In a zoetrope it is the vertical slits around the drum or the flashes of a stroboscope which create the 'interruptions' needed to create the illusion of movement. As such the Phonotrope can only be seen through either the camera's viewfinder, a connected monitor or projector or viewed as footage after the event.

From its inception the most commonly used methods of rotating the disc have been using a record-player however Le Fevre has used a pottery wheel to spin a glazed pot to create animation as well as using a bespoke motor to animate hundreds of cut-out card images on a two-meter-high (6.6 ft) wooden tiered structure for the title sequence for the BBC television comedy film Holy Flying Circus.

A massive thank you goes out to Jim from all the students involved in the workshop, for sharing his expertise, knowledge and experience! In addition we would all like to extend our gratitude to UCA, Phee and the UCA partnership team for making this workshop possible. UCA offer our students such great possibilities and chances to help develop and build their creative pathways and futures!!