Thursday, August 13, 2009

Haunted Book Review Thursday

Animatronics: A Guide to Animated Holiday Displays

Edwin Wise, author

I am so mixed about this book that I don't know quite where to begin. On one hand, it's a great resource for adding motion to a haunt. This book shows you how to do things correctly, how a prop should be safely and sanely constructed. How you should correctly size up a motor to a prop and the formulas for each thereof...


I actually like this book but it is indeed how to do stuff RIGHT. As a resource book, it is indispensable; you have every motion that you can imagine laid out with how to do it electrically or pneumatically (with MATH), it shows you linkage diagrams and examples of different movements that can be achieved with each (with &%$#* MATH), and even goes into trigger mechanisms and programming basics (with &%$#*@*&%###!!! MATH!). But on the downside, there is a lot of MATH. If I were making a dark ride, working for an amusement park company or wanted to construct professional quality props for the public, then I would definitely do things by this book. Things are made solid, a bit over engineered but you would never have a problem.
Problem is, I'm a haunter and a lot of my props are by the seat of my pants. I made a ************* prop today that I haven't seen anywhere before and I did the mechanism with trial and error until it worked (sorry, I'm proud of this one, I'm not going to unveil it until I'm through with it). A lot of these props are made with advanced techniques like welding that would definitely put off the novice quickly. It does have a tutorial on the Flying Crank Ghost, but it was rather confusing, and I have built several of them.

In short, this is a good reference book that has a lot of good information that has saved me some time. On the bad side, if you constructed the props as instructed, you would be broke and it would be over engineered even by our standards. The REAL bad news is that this book is about 40.00, which is really high (I think that I lucked up on mine used on Amazon).

Bottom line, get it if you can get it cheap and you're serious about animation. Otherwise don't worry with it.

And one last thing, this guy didn't have pictures of his haunt! If you write a book on holiday displays and you don't even show your work, that's shameful!


Ghoulie Girls said...

From one math challenge haunter to another I completely agree! Great in some respects but I'm more of a hit and miss person myself.

Can't wait for the unveiling!!

Chris 'Frog Queen' Davis said...

LOL! I have to send a link to this post to husband. He is going to love it. He felt about the same way. I think he skimmed it once and has never opened it again :)


The Captain said...

Just looking at the cover made my eyes hurt.

ShellHawk said...

I've been told the evil news by a college counselor that I must take algebra to get my degree out of the way. Last time, I hated algebra, and it hated me right back. Grrr.

Thanks, though for reminding me about this book. I know I'll need it one day if I want to take my haunt up another level.