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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Animated Costuming
 
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Animated Costuming

In some productions, very elaborate costumes can be assembled that have animated or moving parts. For example, in the 1994 WPI Masque production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, an animated donkey head for the character of Bottom was created. The head features moving eyelids and ears. To control the head, a radio control scheme was used. Small servo motors inside of the head were connected to the various pieces of the costume. A radio controlled receiver and servo controller inside of the head was used to drive the motors. A hand-held remote control unit was used by an off-stage puppeteer to control the motions of the head while the actor performed her lines.

Figure 8.2: The skeleton of an animated costume head, designed and built for the 1994 WPI Masque production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
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Many variations on the theme can be implemented. Ideally, a complicated effect like this is conceived and constructed in a collaborative effort. For the best results, a balance between artistic and technical talents should be struck. An animated costume is of no use if it doesn't look good, and the animation mechanisms will not work will if they are not designed and constructed well. Figure 8.2 shows the skeleton and inside of the aforementioned costume head.


next up previous contents index
Next: Smoke and Fog Up: Special Effects Previous: Introduction   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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