Masterclass – Using and reusing Crass Animation Equipment

11.04.16 - 15.04.2016

This hands-on master class will focus on the Crass animation-stand at LaborBerlin. It will deal with the traditional usage and maintenance of the equipment, as well as with analog to digital and digital to analog transfer techniques.

Crass was a West-Berlin based company for animation equipment. Until the early 1990s they developed relatively light, precise, and robust cameras and projectors for optical printing and animation stands. They were something like the low budget version of the Nielson-Hordell, Mitchell or Oxberry.

The animation-stand was mainly used for traditional drawn-animation, silhouette-films, laid animation and film titles. It can run forwards and backwards, usually has three exposure-speeds (1/2, 1/5 and 1/10), and can do logarithmic fades and linear cross-dissolves in certain lengths between 12 and 120 images. The viewfinder can also be used to insert film images to find positions, as well as to project the viewfinder-image on the template. With a bi-pack attachment you can use the camera for contact-copies and for traveling mattes. One can also use the camera as a photo-enlarger, or for rotoscoping.

LaborBerlin also has the Crassmobil optical printer, which is a special tool for copying film to film without the two films being mechanically interconnected. Camera and projector can be synchronized or run separately, so it is possible to record one image many times, shoot backward motion, do blowups and blowdowns, do multiple exposures and use bi-packing for masks.

In the workshop we will explore the regular use of the equipment, learn the functions of the attachments, and how to avoid damage. In a second part, we will go over how to use the equipment for film-scanning and telecine, how to synchronize digital cameras and monitors with the electromechanical equipment, and how to replace complete electrical parts of cameras and projectors, if beyond repair.

Lutz Garmsen
born 1964 in Wuppertal / Germany

Studied film at “Hochschule für Gestaltung” in Offenbach / Germany from 1985 to 1992. Filmmaker, media artist, apparatus manufacturer, cameraman and animator, as well consultant for media-art projects. Lecturer and assistant professor at various academies and universities.