Old Time Film

The other night, I rented “Nosferatu” from Netflix, a DVD version of the 1922 silent film classic directed by F.W. Murnau. I haven’t watched a silent film in a long while, and it was really enjoyable to see how, limited by the inability to convey story through audible dialog, filmmakers of the day used exaggerated actions, expressions, and really condensed snippets of text to keep audiences engaged and excited. As an animator, it was quite enjoyable to take hints from these actors, and I found myself looking at ways to enhance animations, specifically those involving the human body, by studying these pantomimes.

I think it will come in handy, not only in the animation I do for entertainment, but also in corporate and especially medical animation situations. The movements of the human body are especially important in medical 3D animations, where correct anatomy and a good understanding of the inter-relationship of muscles and bones is necessary to create any sort of 3D medical training tool or any degree of accurate representation of the human physiology.

Film and video technology has come a long way since the early 20s, and it’s interesting to think that one day, people will look back on my 3D and flash animation and think it’s “quaint” in the way that silent movies are viewed now.