Astaire Unwound | Bigfott

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2024-06-13 09:00:07

I began "Astaire Unwound" as a pet project, and am proud that it came to be included in the "Comédies Musicales" exhibit at the Philharmonie de Paris!

It's no great secret how Fred Astaire was able to literally “dance around the room” in Stanley Donen’s 1951 movie Royal Wedding . The hotel room set was constructed inside a huge rotating steel cage, all the furniture was bolted down, and the camera and cameraman were strapped down and traveled around 360 degrees while Astaire danced away, always remaining upright as the room rotated around him.

But the more you think about it, the more amazing an accomplishment this number seems. The cage must have had a diameter of something like 20 feet, and the light fixtures had to stay powered throughout. The whole thing must have weighed a ton or two. Building this set was an enormous feat of engineering. What would it look like to a bystander as this amazing scene was shot?

To try to answer that question, I took the scene from the movie (left) and performed a little video trickery (right). I did three basic things:

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