Camera Obscura

Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by Hsing, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Hsing Moderator

    Once we've moved and settled down, I want to build a camera obscura - a large, solid one I can use as a drawing help. I've seen one particularly intruiging model in the Museum of Technology in Berlin.

    Does anyone here have experience with something like that? It's ages ago since I've looked at an illustration on how they work.
  2. Garner Great God and Founding Father

    ... i take it we're talking about something more than a paper milk carton with a panel cut out and pinhole in the end?
  3. Hsing Moderator

    Not quite... It looked more like this one (top photo):
    Camera Obscura

    I found it very interesting what you could do with it when using it as a drawing instrument.
  4. TamyraMcG Active Member

    when I was in middle school we had one classroom with curtains that, when closed, would allow images from the outside to project on the walls, I always thought that was cool. Now in the bathrooms at work we have stainless steel stalls and the angle of the light causes an image of the sink area to form on the walls of certain stalls, it is just weird. Or maybe it's just me...
  5. Maljonic Administrator

    I've seen one where you totally black out a room, then make a little hole in whatever you put over one of the windows. I've also seen another one made from a shed, where you go inside to see the picture on the inside wall projected through a little whole. It's a bit limiting though because it's quite difficult to move a shed around to point at what you want to paint.
  6. Joculator The 'Old' Fool

    I used to have a little device that allowed you to take drawings from life. It was simply a small cube (5x5x5cm) with the front and bottom removed, a small hole in the top to look down through and a piece of glass mounted at 45° between the front and bottom. When you looked down through the top on to your sheet of paper, The front view was reflected on the glass allowing you to sketch the outlines etc. It was mounted very simply on a piece of metal rod that connected to a stand.

    I made this quick model in under five minutes.

    1 - This is the basic box. The lines represent 1cm squares. Make it out of thick card. Black is preferred but it can also be painted with poster colours.

    2 - The assembled unit with a piece of overhead projector film taped at 45° across the front. A small piece of glass would be better, but it worked reasonably well if the object was brightly lit.

    3 - The unit mounted about 30cm above a sheet of A4 paper. A couple of handy rulers and some books keep it in place.

    Obviously with a little time you can use a wire coathanger to make a more sturdy stand, but this is a 'down and dirty' method for speed.

    Simply look down through the hole and trace what you see reflected down on to the paper.

    I have managed to produce drawings about 60cmx60cm with this little device by simply raising it to arms length above the paper.
    These units are still produced in the UK and will cost you around £30 (€35)

    If you need anything bigger, you could try using a large carboard box (fridge size for example), putting a small hole at on side and replace the opposite side with a sheet of acrylic plastic (double glazing quality). All you would need to do is tape a large sheet of paper on to the plastic and trace the image as if it were a big pinhole camera.
    Much the same as the example you have seen.

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