Sunday, February 5, 2012

Motion Picture Projection

This book, from 1928, was fascinating to read, and it convinced me of one thing: James Cameron is OLD! No wonder he pulled off Avatar -- he's been working on motion picture engineering for almost a hundred years! The book has a wealth (1200 pages) of details and images that really show how complex projection was, even then. What fascinated me the most, though, were descriptions of how to get interesting "Brenkert effects" from a Brenograph machine. This was a machine that shone light through rotating disks made of mica, to get hypnotic visual effects, meant to accompany music, or to enhance slide shows. There is even talk of how to use these effects to enhance prologues! If you don't know what those are, go watch my favorite movie: Footlight Parade! You can see some cool Brenograph effects here.

Anyway, if you plan to time travel to 1928 and work in a projection booth, this book is surely invaluable. I wonder if I can get James Cameron to sign it?


  1. Hi Jesse, I was just wondering how involved were you in the creation of Toontown? It seems that you, Mike Goslin and Greg Wiatroski were some of the key people behind it.

    Also, were you involved in the Toontown 2 Prototype?

    1. Hi Jack-

      Yeah, I was lead designer on Toontown. It was very much a WDI VR Studio project.

      Sadly, I don't even know about the Toontown 2 prototype! :(

    2. Sounds great, been a big player of the game since 2005. I appreciate everything your team has done, and I'm constantly researching things to try and find out more about what went into the game.

      Shame you don't know anything about the prototype, I guess just the new Toontown team is working on that.

      (By the way, did you know Toontown turns 10 years old next year? I hope it doesn't go unnoticed by Disney!)

    3. Heh, I'm certainly aware of the 10th birthday! Of course, we started it in 1998, so for some of us, it's been even longer!

    4. Wow, that's quite surprising! I knew the game was old, but not THAT old, haha. Sometimes I'm shocked that Toontown is still running and being updated to this day, especially when you see big budget MMOs like Lego Universe shut down a year after running.

      Oh well, I love Toontown and it has a very loyal fanbase, so why question it.

    5. Hi Jesse I also am a fann of the brenograph machine and have used it in Pomona pucture theatre Australia Queensland run by the last real picture show man Ron west as far s I know if you wish to travel back in time you better visit this theatre before he to passes into history John Peck Fund me via email