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Have you ever pondered this question?
When a horse is trotting, do all four of its hooves leave the ground at the same time?

The question above left former Governor of California, Leland Stanford and his friends curious as to what the answer was. Though Stanford’s friends thought that a trotting horse has at least one of its hooves in contact with the ground, Stanford had disagreed. He believed that all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground at the same time when trotting. This began the bet to prove this speculation. Since a horse’s legs move too fast for the human eye to catch when it’s trotting, Stanford contacted Eadweard Muybridge, a famous photographer, to take a sequence of shots of a horse galloping. In 1872, Stanford offered him $25,000 to do this, of which Muybridge accepted the challenge. After many experiments and adjustments, Muybridge was finally able to settle the bet in 1878, creating a mechanism that had a faster shutter speed.

Photographing a sequence of 12 images, Muybridge showed that when a horse is trotting, all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground at the same time. Leaving his friends stunned, Stanford was right all along.

Although, this bet took 6 years to prove, it was the first picture sequence that began the motion picture industry. Wanting to preserve this type of filming, Florian Lütkebohmert, a research associate at the University of Bremen in the digital Media in Education work group, created a device called the Lumiero handheld projector.

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“I designed the projector as part of a video or media course called ‘Expanded Pixels’ by Professor Joachim Hofmann at the University of the Arts Bremen. The scope of the course was to expand video and images beyond the screen and/or the cinema,” Lütkebohmert said.

Finding that most if not all theaters are replacing their 35 mm projectors with digital analog systems, Lütkebohmert wanted to preserve the film experience that was done in the late 1800’s.

He researched on the “mechanical functionality of traditional film projectors” and worked on designing his model to be “as simple as possible with limited moving parts,” he said.

The device is made without the use of electricity. On the side of it, there is a crank that changes the frame speed based on how fast you crank it.

A “pulsed light source” was added out of “an old camera-flash which can provide a bright enough light in short pulses. I coupled it with my film-transport solution which triggers the flash 25 times per second. The flash is what is responsible for the long form of the projector as the whole thing is built around it,” he explained.

This “eliminates the need for a mechanical shutter mechanism, while ensuring a nearly perfect synchronization between light and film”.

Although there are things that Lütkebohmert is working on to add to his handheld projector, it is something that was created in the past that he is trying to bring back. When we learn about the history behind how and why a device was created it is amazing how far we’ve come. Filmmaking has grown so much that we neglect to value how things were originally made. Lütkebohmert’s project helped to bring the history of movie making back to the present. Sometimes it’s devices like this that we must appreciate and not forget about but remember.

Want to make your own handheld projector? See here.
To view more of Florian Lütkebohmert’s work see here.


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