24 frames a second
Returning to the subject of the 3 frame walking picture strips; these are some of my favourite walking pictures, and as explained before on the site (under the Barkers history), they were taken with old adapted movie cameras. The operator got his subject/s in view, turned the crank, and three exposures were taken in succession. The end user prints were either on a postcard, or sometimes wider and longer strips. Most were cut up and given to friends, but some survive complete.
But it has taken an email from Andrew Osborne to wake me up to the fact that these strips are in effect 3 frames from a film; he looked at one from his family album and thought “surely you could animate that?”. As films reply on 24 frames per second, obviously the animation can only give a fraction of a second of apparent motion, but even so the example he sent still comes to life in a quite remarkable way. It’s such an obvious idea I’m not sure why it never occurred to me to try it myself, but now Andrew has led the way, I will certainly be having a go.
Technical tricks aside, as with many walkies, this one has a story, albeit a somewhat poignant one. It shows Andrew’s Grandfather and his wife around 1936 walking along Clacton High Street on holiday, with their new born baby (Andrew’s Uncle). It was their last holiday together. Grandfather worked in the Blue Asbestos factory in Tottenham and contracted Hodgkinson’s disease as a result of his work, and died the following year. As Andrew says, it was very moving for him to see the his Grandparents come to the screen like this.
The strip may have been taken by either Empire or Sunfilms. My thanks to Andrew for letting us show this on the site.