the John Whitney Biographical Web

"Just after World War II my brother and I were constantly excited by a future world. We sort of expected it to happen before the 1940's were past."

John whitney Sr's analogue computerwas a twelve-foot-high device capable of producing complex, yet beautiful graphic designs. Unlike the digital computer which requires the processing of mathematical equations as its input, Whitney's analogue computer must have its information ready before it is processed, meaning that template must be created. The "information" or image source was hi-con kodalith film negatives.When manipulated by the cam machine in a precise orbital motion --with an added movement differential the result is animation. His insight was to harness the cam and ball integrators (formerly used as dedicated equation solvers for the gun fuse timing) as a source of differential motion. That is the key he later continued to use with the digital computer programs. See RDTD. Works such as Arabesque or Catalogue, must first have the images drawn, photographed, and pasted together before processing. Images could be a simple pattern or something more complex like a field of hand-painted dots.

Information source: Expanded Cinema, Gene Youngblood Copyright © 1970