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Techniques

Rotoscope

The rotoscope is a device to redraw live-action shots, frame by frame. © NFB

The rotoscope is a device to redraw live-action shots, frame by frame. © NFB

<strong><em>A Feather Tale</em></strong> (1992) - Michèle Cournoyer. © NFB

A Feather Tale (1992) - Michèle Cournoyer. © NFB

<strong><em>An Artist</em></strong> (1994) - Michèle Cournoyer. © NFB

An Artist (1994) - Michèle Cournoyer. © NFB

<strong><em>When the Day Breaks</em></strong> (1999) - Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. © NFB

When the Day Breaks (1999) - Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. © NFB

Play excerpts of films that use this technique

Une artiste / An Artist, 1994

Une artiste / An Artist, 1994

Play this excerpt

By Marcel Jean
Animation Expert

The rotoscope, invented in 1915 by American Max Fleischer, is a device to redraw live-action shots, frame by frame. In 1939 Max and Dave Fleischer used the rotoscope to create the character of Gulliver in their adaptation of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.

At the NFB, Michèle Cournoyer made use of a roto for A Feather Tale (1992), the surreal story of a woman who turns into a chicken. She then used a digital version of the rotoscope for An Artist (1994). In 1999 Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis also used a device based on the rotoscope for their urban drama When the Day Breaks.

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