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Going to the pictures


Zoe Satherley
5 April 2007
A journey to the moon, Charlie Chaplin and the Wizard of Oz are all elements of an acclaimed animation produced by two Southern Cross University multimedia staff which will soon preview in Brisbane.

The animation is the work of Sean O’Shannessy, lecturer in the Bachelor of Media, and multimedia tutor and honours student Gemma Canning.

Their 30-second animation, grandly titled ‘A Brief History of Cinema’, gives an extremely brief and light-hearted glimpse of some iconic moments in cinematic history.

It will form an important part of Museum of Brisbane’s upcoming exhibition, Admit One – Brisbane Goes to the Pictures, running from Saturday, April 7 to Sunday, August 19.

The exhibition explores how ‘going to the pictures’ has changed over the years, from a time when we had little choice in what we saw at the cinema to today when we are bombarded with choice and have access to home theatres, DVDs, videos and downloadable movies from the Internet.

Admit One poses questions like: ‘Was there a stronger sense of community in earlier times? How has going to the pictures changed over the years? What have we lost, or gained, since then? Whatever happened to the dress circle and the canvas seats? Where did all those drive-ins go? How did we get from picture palaces to megaplexes? And who invented Jaffas anyway?’

Sean and Gemma’s animation, ‘A Brief History of Cinema’, is one of three animated elements which form a part of the interactive exhibition, called ‘You be the editor’.

This provides an activity where visitors experience a simulation of the editing process and create their own animated sequence from a choice of actions or snippets in the original animation.

‘A Brief History of Cinema’ takes viewers on a whimsical journey through some of the most iconic moments in cinema history. It quickly but rhythmically progress from Georges Melies’ ‘Journey to the Moon’ (1902) and Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Life’ (1936) to the walk down the yellow brick road by Dorothy, Tinman, Lion and Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz (1939).

Every scene allows the user to remix the order of the sequence without breaking its overall continuity.

Sean said he was delighted the animation was chosen to be screened: “It indicates Southern Cross University is punching above its weight in the field.

“Our students and staff are innovative and highly motivated and although we have a very small animation department, our digital media labs are excellent and we are turning out impressive results.

“I hope this leads to bigger projects in the future.”

Caption: A scene from the animation 'A Brief History of Cinema'.