039 > Letraset
One of the many gems in the Tony Pritchett archive: the original Letraset titles for his ground breaking film, THE FLEXIPEDE.

039 > Letraset

In 1967, Tony Pritchett used Letraset and a BBC rostrum camera to create the titles for The Flexipede. You can find out more about how he did this, in my spot in this lecture.

No.W.Here lab's rostrum camera. I was lucky enough to use this wonderful machine before the lab closed. For more information on the lab and artist James Holcombe who has contributed a great deal to this project, please click on this image.

He worked as a production assistant on educational TV programs, (c. 1965-66), with exciting titles like ‘Maths In Action!’ The The shows were presented by Benedict Nixon – a man who wasn’t a professional TV presenter. Benedict was a computer scientist at the Institute of Computer Science, (home of The London Atlas). For more information about how Dr. Nixon got Tony access to Atlas, please see my talk here.

Flexipede titles on card with plastic BBC 'graticule' overlayed.
The font he used is Futura Display. Acc to Prof. Bob Hopgood, it would have been nigh impossible for Atlas to create this typeface, constructing the curves bit by bit out of straight lines - and colouring it in line by line too!
Tony credits Atlas.
A fly lands on the titles. Poor Tony even needed to debug his analogue work! This footage is shot by me when viewing Tony's work on a Steenbeck screen.
Inspired by Tony I found some Letraset on Ebay. I used it to make the titles for a stereoscopic short film. As you can see I didn't do as good a job as him!! For the soundtrack, I used some 1/4" tape field recordings of early computers, made by Tony. All good practice for creating moving image portraits of Tony in this eBook Project.

Why Did Tony use Letraset?

Basically he was saving on computing time. It would’ve taken Atlas and the microfilm recorder ages to draw his font of choice, plotting the curves using tiny short lines, and then colouring the lot in line by line. Even a simpler font would have eaten up computing time. I’ll go into more detail in the eBook – thanks to oracle, Prof Bob Hopgood.

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