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Jean Crow and Alan Kitching
Finite Elements Film
Excerpt from the FE Film
Jean Crow (now Jean Nunn-Price) worked with Alan Kitching to produce a significant computer animation called Finite Elements. This was done on the SC4020 using the Technicolor process to produce a colour film from 3 greyscale originals. The software used was Alan Kitching's Antics system that allowed areas to be filled and inbetweening between master frames.
The film starts with an innovative display of how the finite element mesh results in a set of equations involving matrices to be solved and the solution process.
This is followed by the sequence shown here of:
- The load on one of the M6 bridges under construction at that time
- The turbulent flow of air around an object
- The flow of effluent in the Solent as the two tides wash around either side of the Isle of Wight. A new disposal position was being simulated. This one has the effluent being washed right back up to Southampton rather than out to sea.
The film had a sound track by Peter Hadingham who worked with the Laboratory for many years on the film production side. One innovation was just at the end of the film when a musical soundtrack is achieved by drawing on the sound area of the 35mm film stock.
For download, we have a low (42.8 Mbytes)
quality MPG version:
Low Resolution Version of FE Film
RAL Photographic Section also has a high (426 Mbytes) quality version available.
Antics Workshop still exists and produces computer animated films.
Although work on the film started in 1970, it was near the end of 1975 by the time the final touching-up was done. By October 1975, the picture had been married with the soundtrack and a full colour version generated. The complete film was shown to the Engineering Board in 1975. Irene Buchanan showed it in Leicester in 1975. Paul Nelson in Farnborough. These were the earliest showings of the final film. A lengthy period then ensued waiting for SERC to decide whether it wanted to sell the film, and if so how.
A Press showing of the film took place in May 1976.