Alas, online viewers may have a short attention span, but the rapid-fire entertainment has its roots more than 4000 years ago. Here’s the oldest recorded animation, and it’s made by sequencing five images on a goblet that may date back to 2600 B.C.
This according to the archeology blog on About.com (warning- pop-ups will chase you home tonight if you click that link):
Now this is deeply cool. The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) in Iran has made a short film using the images on a bowl from the Burnt City. The Burnt City (Shar-i Sokhta) is a site in Iran that dates to about 2600 BC, and has seen some decades of investigation. The bowl shows five images of a wild goat leaping, and if you put them in a sequence (like a flip book), the wild goat leaps to nip leaves off a tree.
What does a historic goblet animation teach us about online video?
- Keep the story simple.
- Animals sell. Animals are to online video as red and yellow are to fast food.
- Jumping animals are funnier. I would have prefered to see the goat smash his head, but I’m clearly not on PETA’s Christmas list.
- Watching feeble attempts make us feel better about ourselves. The goat never quite catches the leaves. That’s only moderately funny now, but it killed on Bob Saget’s “Iran’s Funniest Goblets.”
- Don’t forget the permanence of the medium. I suspect the poor Iranian that drew this might have put a bit more attention into the totally unconvincing trees and over-extended goat horns if he (or she) knew it would be flopping around the Internet. Of course, they didn’t yet have electricity, so I doubt they really could conceive the notion of the Internet until maybe a few hundred years later.
Doesn’t Steamboat Willie seem a bit Neuvo now?