[Filmmaker IQ] has a bunch of great tutorials on the technical aspects of making movies, but this episode on copying the stargate Stanley Kubrick’s famous 2001: A Space Odyssey using Legos is a hacker’s delight.
The stargate in 2001 is that long, trippy bit where our protagonist Dave “I’m sorry Dave” Bowman gets pulled through space and time into some kind of alternate universe and is reborn as the star child. (Right, the plot got a little bit bizarre.) But the stargate sequence, along with the rest of the visual effects for the film, won them an Academy Award.
Other examples of slit scan animations you’ll recognize include the opening credits for Doctor Who and the warp-drive effect in Star Trek: TNG.
How was the effect done in the days before non-linear video editing? One frame at a time, with the camera on a rail, advancing toward a slit that has moving artwork behind it. And as a demo, [John Hess] makes his own slit-scan machine out of LEGO. You should really watch the entire episode, but click here if you just want to get straight to the Lego hack.
And just in case you want to re-make the actual stargate exactly, here are the original images that were projected behind the curtain, extracted on an old SGI computer by reversing the technique.