III A NIGHT IN THE GRAVEYARD: THE PROJECTION
OF OPAQUE OBJECTS
OR THE PROJECTION
OF MARIONETTES AND OTHER 3 DIMENSIONAL OBJECTS
The Moisse Fantascope and slides found a new permanent
home and resides in the International
Media Museum / IMM - QMA Qatar.
The museum is scheduled to open in a few years.
For this application the
Megascope lens is mounted on the fantascope. With this adaptation the name
of the apparatus simply changes into Megascope (better known as an
episcope) The idea for this peculiar technique and fantasmagoria application
was inspired by Jacques Alexandre César Charles (1746-1823), who originally
used the megascope for scientific purposes during lectures.
One of the earliest references to Megascope
projection, 1756, was applied by the German
Most people are familiar with the episcope
as a means of projecting two-dimensional
images (engravings, prints, books, photographs,
…) However, less known is the more spectacular
use of the apparatus to project/reflect
3-dimensional objects (e.g. animated
with in a decor (background) See decor
adaptor in left image
This knowledge enables us
also to project less obvious “objects” because each megascope is simply a
reversed camera obscura working with artificial light in a controlled
After some trial and error it is possible to project an upright
“living head” or “face” on the screen.
In our example, the
skeleton-marionette is situated
upside-down inside the lanternhouse of the
megascope. This gives an upright image on the screen. The lens used to focus
the reflected light needs to be much brighter (with a wider aperture)
compared with common projector lenses for translucent originals, because the light output is much less
and this essential compensation is needed in order to achieve sufficient
clarity of the opaque image.
The optical element in the Moisse megascope lens is a
simple bi-convex lens of 15 centimetres in diameter, as explained and
illustrated in Molteni’s : “Instructions Pratique sur l’emploi des Appareils
de Projection, Lanterne Magique, Fantasmagorie, Polyorama” fourth edition
. See image above right.
by today’s projection standards, this optical
inferior lens configuration has yet again
a big advantage when
it is used for the projection of animated 3-D
fantasmagoria marionettes - for the same reasons
given earlier for multiple glass slides and single
glass slides painted on both sides.
The limited depth of focus
obtainable from the subject (marionette) with
such a wide-aperture lens is guaranteed to produce
an “authentic” graveyard
scene; the fact that only one plane can
be in focus at any one time is what gives the
illusion of depth!
Opaque Projection examples.
a bibliography for the Moisse Fantascope in PDF
It is possible to enclose
large objects inside the megascope lamphouse, but in order to obtain an
excellent result it may be necessary to adapt the design of the projection
In easy terms, the object schould not be
too bulky or
On the other hand, a lot of “objects trouvés” work very well in the
megascope, such as a real human skull as used by medical students to study
Due to the limited depth of field, the focused parts of the
projected image appear to be situated between other parts that
are either more or less in focus. This creates an illusion of
depth when projected on a two-dimensional