John Whitney, Catalog, 1961

Namechecked on butdoesitfloat and boingboing earlier today, this 1961 reel from motion graphics pioneer John Whitney is well worth a look. Whitney’s home-built analogue computer famously made use of parts from an anti-aircraft gun sight

Namechecked on butdoesitfloat and boingboing earlier today, this 1961 reel from motion graphics pioneer John Whitney is well worth a look. Whitney’s home-built analogue computer famously made use of parts from an anti-aircraft gun sight…

Collaborating with Saul Bass on the title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in 1958 possibly brought Whitney’s work its largest audience.

But since the early 1950s he had been using his homemade animation techniques on TV commercials and, prior to those films, his experimental work in the 1940s (notably Five Film Exercises) had already marked him out as a master of progressive animation.

Whitney produced further title sequences using his analogue computer and founded Motion Graphics Incorporated in 1960 – a year later he compiled a record of his visual effects in the short film, Catalog (below).

According to Gene Youngblood’s Expanded Cinema, Whitney’s experiments with the mechanism of a second world war M-5 anti-aircraft gun director were integral to his creation of such a range of effects. Whitney later reconfigured the mechanism, apparently creating a machine that was 12ft high in the process.

In 1975, embracing the potential of digital effects, Whitney created the motion graphics for this film, Arabesque.

 

 

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