There’s an old saying (attributed to Stanislavski) that, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” (One might argue that writers do sometimes create small roles, but that’s another blog post and not really what Stranislavski was getting at. He meant actors must take any role seriously, no matter its size.)
What I have today approaches the smallest possible actor in the smallest possible role. Despite this being seven years old, I think it still holds the title of “World’s Smallest Movie” — at least until we can make one starring nucleons or quarks. (I especially like the electron banding; that’s quantum mechanics in action.)
For a Wednesday Wow, a movie starring a single atom.
It’s one of those days you remember better than any birthday or wedding. Those were planned; these hit you suddenly, stunning your mind, breaking your heart. “The shuttle blew up!” “The Towers fell!”
The impact was even greater if you saw it happen in real-time. If you watched the shuttle launches. If you caught the breaking news before the second tower was hit. Saw the second plane, realized at that moment, “This is no accident!”
Even if you saw it after, you saw it; saw it as an attack.
In the last quarter of the 19th century — USA-centrically, call it 139 years ago — we began to experience having the sound of strangers’ voices in our lives, even in our homes. Not just voices, but music from concert halls and clubs. And other sounds, too: the clip-clop of horse feet, the slam of a door, a gun-shot. Less than 100 years go, those sounds went electric, and we never looked back.
At the beginning of the 20th century, we started another love affair — this one with moving images on rectangular screens, a dance of light and shadow, windows to imaginary worlds. Or windows to recorded memories or news of distant places. When sound went electric, those moving images took voice and spoke and sang. No one alive in our society today remembers a time when moving images weren’t woven into our lives.
Here, now, into the 21st century, in an age of streaming video and music, from cloud to your pocket device (with its high-resolution display and built-in video camera), I can’t help but be impressed by how far we’ve come.
A long way, indeed.
Today I want to tie up last time’s post about animation before moving on to other things. I’m sure I’ll return to the topic of making movies with POV-Ray and FFmpeg; it’s just too much fun, and I have tons of ideas. (I can finally do a really decent animation for the Special Relativity article I’m planning for Albert’s birthday.)
Firstly, I’ll discuss the animation initialization file, the ANI.INI file, and show you how the multiple segments are managed. Secondly, I’ll talk about the output files — all those frames we generate — and what to do with them.
Plus, I have a couple of important announcements!
I mentioned last time that a big draw for me with POV-Ray is the ability to create three-dimensional scenes and move around them. Having lots of camera positions is part of that; I want to see my scene from multiple angles. (Moving about a 3D space was often a big part of what little interest I ever had in video games. I especially liked flying games.)
From the very beginning, knowing that POV has support for animation, I’ve wanted to take it to the next level and make 3D movies. Rather than frozen snapshots taken from a bunch of (hopefully) well-chosen points, I wanted a fluid movement through the space.
Today I thought I’d write about some tricks I use to do that.