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Let's be honest, Catalog is basically the film equivalent of a 52 mile-per-hour fast ball over the heart of the plate. It's John Whitney, Sr.'s legendary 1961 animation, created using a modified Anti-Aircraft Gun Director that controlled a camera. Using techniques like the slit-scan and light effects.
The film is fascinating, and it also helps us understand the evolution of computer graphics in a way that you might never consider.
At about 7 minutes, it's brief, and it's not at all story-telling. It's imagery, pure and simple. The forms change in color, in shape, they ungulate and shift, along with a simple but powerful soundtrack. The effect iS the film. The film is nothing but the images playing and moving, and that's what early computer graphics were in the day. Up through about 1975, the computer graphics world was not at all about telling stories, but about images and demonstrating the capabilities of computers, NOT of producing usable graphics. That's not to say that some did not create simple stories (The Flexipede and Birdlings are two), but they were more about the technology than the story. By the mid-1970s, computer graphics were all about adding effect to larger productions - films, and especially, television commercials. Westworld, Futureworld, and especially, Star Wars, all moved computer graphics into storytelling. It wasn't until the late 1980s that graphics became the bigger things, and by the time we got Terminator 2 in 1992, things had evolved to the point where computer graphics were not only adding to the story, but making it possible. The big one is Toy Story, which was the final proof that a film could be entirely enabled by a computer. These computer animated films were not the extension of the philosophies of the creators of the films that used computer graphics to tell the story, but of the work of people like John Whitney, Sr., and Bell Labs, where the technology is the reason for the creation, but they'd added the reality that you must include a story to make it palatable, and thus, profitable.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.