The beginnings of animation: Segundo de Chomón

The beginnings of animation: Segundo de Chomón

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Added by 7 January, 2017

Segundo Víctor Aurelio Chomón y Ruiz (Teruel, 1871 – Paris, 1929), better known under the name of Segundo de Chomón, was a Spanish filmmaker who despite being a figure relatively forgotten by history must be considered as a pioneer in Cinema, in animation and in special effects. His enormous creativity and his great technical skill allowed him to work for the main companies of cinematographic production of that time like Itala Films or Pathé Frères. He worked as director and technician dealing with tricks in films such as Cabiria (1914) by Giovanni Pastrone, or Napoleon (1927) by Abel Gance.

The stop-motion taken to the last consequences

In the last post of The Beginnings of Animation we talked about the figure of James Stuart Blackton and his invention, the crank or stop-motion, which he put into practice in his famous film Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906). But it was Segundo de Chomón who perfected this technique, taking it to lands already very similar to those of today. Segundo de Chomón already used techniques that brought us stop-motion in his film Eclipse de sol (1905), and finally put it into practice in La maison hantée (The Haunted House, 1906) in a much more complex way.

Although the cinema of Chomón perhaps does not fit completely with what today we understand as animation, since in his films we could also find people of flesh and bone acting, it is certain that many of his techniques used to create tricks and optical illusions are directly linked to the techniques of animated cinema. For these reasons it can not be denied that this Spanish Méliès should be considered as one of the pioneers in the beginning of the animation.

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