Stop-Motion Animation Created with 800+ Dry Plate Tintypes

The idea behind stop-motion videos is pretty simple: snap a lot of photographs in rapid succession and then string together all the images afterward to animate them. There was a time when the dominant photographic processes weren’t fast enough to create any meaningful kind of animation. Does that mean we’ll never see a stop-motion animation created using tintypes? Nope. The video above is one example of a stop-motion video created with a super old photographic process: the dry plate tintype.

Titled “Near the Egress,” it was created by photographer Antonio Martinez and shows a show at a circus. Martinez says he created the animation to “serve as a desired childhood memory of the circus, but through the mind of an adult.”


Over 800 dry plate tintypes were created in order to make up the frames of the video. Here’s the secret to the whole thing: the animation didn’t start with the tintypes. Instead, Martinez first shot the stills using black-and-white film, and then created tintypes using those frames.

Due to the unpredictable nature of tintypes and the difficulty in controlling exactly how they come out, the animation ends up having a very unique look as each uniquely created tintype bounces to the next.

The whole thing took five years to complete (from 2005 to 2010). It has since been shown at over 23 different festivals and was also selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick.

(via TwentyTwentyFour)

Image credits: Video and stills by Antonio Martinez

  • Mike Svitek

    Makes my head hurt, but its so beautiful… Simply amazing.

  • sinisterbrain

    Knowing how much effort goes into a single tintype, multiplied by 800 — I can’t say it any other way, this is simply amazing work.

  • Alok

    In the first few bits, I thought of all the things he could have chosen, he opted to show elephants mating? But no, amazing work!

  • SAYZ

    Interesting look into the past and a dream like memory .

  • Rian Hall

    This is eerily beautiful. Reminds me of the work by Stan Brakhage. Love it.

  • Jon Spenser

    Really amazing to say the very least! Totally mesmerizing and beautiful on so many levels. Has some of the inky “black” eeriness of Joel-Peter Witkin’s work.

  • Jane Eskay Waldmann

    I think its ugly and creepy. Can’t understand why he spent all that time on it!!

  • Eziz

    Am I going to get a call now that tells me I’m going to die in 6 days?

  • Kellam Clark

    Awesome, very artfully done. I cam across this a while back when I thought I was the first person to think of this. I called my friend and mentor about the idea of making films with tintypes and she pointed out that John Coffer had already done it. Then I found this as well. Love the piece. A Grand Bravo to Antonio Martinez

    Kellam Clark
    Barking Hand: A Living Tin