Illusion Chair

Which way is the chair facing?!






Halloween at Camera Obscura: Animazombs Create A Stir In The Shop!

These Animazombs have a sweet tooth.

They have been nicking stuff from the sweets cauldron all week. Come in and see the new sweets in stock this Hallowe’en. We have our new game of Bean Boozled… are you brave enough to play?

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Bean Boozled

There are tabasco jelly beans – do you dare to try them?

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Fiery Tabasco

We also have a spooky loot bag full of our pyramid bags of jelly beans, what flavours will you get?

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Loot Bags!

PLUS, just because it’s Halloween, we’re offering a superb 30% off all Animzombs…hurray!!

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Grab you Animzomb now!

Mesmerising Blue Balls

This may not be an illusion but it is certainly mesmerising! Try watching one ball at a time and watch where it goes…

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We found this on Animated Hypnotism’s Google+ page where there’s plenty more animated gifs to check out!

Halloween at Camera Obscura: Zombies Party on Witches’ Territory

In Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, there is a wall of portraits. It is perfectly ordinary on first glance, but a second glance might reveal completely different people than you saw before…

Take Grandpa Esbat, for example; what a lovely portrait this is of him:

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Or is it?!

Grandpa Esbat

The haunted portraits use lenticular lenses that allow you to see different parts of an interlaced image.

The haunted portraits are available in the shop with a fantastic 20% discount this Halloween. Choose from Aunt Sarah, Granny Gertrude, Cousin Claudia and many more.

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Haunted Portraits!

There are plenty of other Halloween tricks and treats in the shop, which the animal zombies, aka Animazombs, have been investigating! We’ve got potion bottles…

Animazombs drink potions - at Camera Obscura

Great Props for Parties!

…and spell books….

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The Witches’ Spell Book

…and, of course, the Animzombs themselves!…

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Get a free crate with every Animazomb!



Animazombs invade Camera Obscura: Cameron meets Victor!


As well as being an adventurous bear, I am the mascot of Camera Obscura. So it was a real bug bear this week to find out that some people thought a giant zombie rabbit was some kind of representative of the place.

I first spotted our visitor on our brand new Viewcams. We now have 4 HD cameras!

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Spotted on the viewcams!

The animazombs also live in the Camera Obscura shop, but normally they are the same size as me, so I did not understand the stories that there was a giant in the building. Until I met Victor:

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Introducing Victor!

He is taller than most humans but he is a rabbit.


I think he is just visiting to help us celebrate Hallowe’en. I think I will be glad when he is gone.

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The Ames Room

The normal-sized animazombs are less scary. They are all up for adoption, and you get a free crate for them to live in.

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Animazombs are up for adoption!

I do not think I would like to live in a crate, because I still want to see the whole world! But, each to his own…

Motion Capture at Camera Obscura

Here at Camera Obscura we are always getting new things: shop items, staff, exhibits … the list goes on.  So, it gives me, the writer of this here blog, more than a little excitement to present our newest exhibit …

… YOU!

Yes, you.  Or rather, your skeleton.

Our new exhibit uses motion capture technology (mo-cap) to enable you to control a computer-generated skeleton.  Make it dance, make it walk, make it wave – it is up to you.

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The Camera Obscura Skeleton Exhibit!

But what is mo-cap?  It is the buzz word in Hollywood at the moment as more films are starting to use mo-cap.

Markers are placed on a person and a computer tracks these.  Our mo-cap uses sensors rather than markers placed on the body so it is less detailed than what one can see on the big screen, but the idea is similar.  The computer then picks up the person’s movement and, voila, the computer generated image matches the actor, or dancer, or you!

Films like Lord of the Rings, King Kong, The Hobbit, Tintin, and The Planet of the Apes all have been made using mo-cap.  It means an actor can play the facial expressions and movement of anything, including non-humans.

Motion Capture at Camera Obscura

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolution of Smaug.

The best known mo-cap actor currently working is Andy Serkis.  Most famous for playing Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, he has since appeared as Ceasar in the Planet of the Apes films, Captain Haddock in Tintin and King Kong in King Kong.  He even advised on the emotions of Godzilla in Godzilla.

Motion Capture at Camera Obscura

Andy Serkis as Gollum

Motion Capture at Camera Obscura

(Ok, this is a vain picture but it’s me, aged 17, meeting Andy Serkis. I was wearing a replica of the ring and he saw it, did the voice and then, for the picture, did the face. You can see just how much of Gollum’s expression came from Serkis’ performance).

Computers, like Microsoft Kinnect and Nintendo Wii use a similar form of mo-cap to us, where sensors pick up movements and the computer mimics this.  Unlike mo-cap, which needs the dots for sensors, our skeleton and computer games use dot sensors which are invisible to the naked eye but can be seen on some night imagery cameras.

Motion Capture at Camera Obscura

Paranormal Activity 4

This was used to terrifying effect in Paranormal Activity 4 when the demon showed up on the night cameras as the dots moved.

Our motion sensor skeleton will not show any of the Camera Obscura’s resident ghosts, but will allow you to make a skeleton dance away.