Posted by: Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | 02/21/2010

Blog Post #5

Animation in Teaching Complex Machines; 1950’s Informative Video from the U.S. Navy

-more after the jump-

Animation is a highly versatile medium. Primarily used for entertainment, it provides a handy way to teach as well. Normally, explaining how complex machines work often becomes a matter of going through manuals and breaking apart or at least allowing trainees time and hands-on experience in a machine built specifically for training. This time-consuming and rather material heavy process would often only allow a few people at a time to learn how a machine work. Using Animation to cover the general parts of a machine or processes of a job will increase training time and reduce costs.

This few training videos work on explaining a rather complex machine such as a ship’s fire control system, into a relatively short (forty-two minutes) video explaining the basic machines and calculations that make up the important machine.

Part 1

Part 2

The videos may had seemed slow and way too talky for people nowadays, with no jazz or some sort of enthusiasm we’ve come to expect of animation nowadays, but the video is an excellent snapshot in how people were taught their jobs. Although not fully animation, placing drawings and using animation adds some welcome relief to the eyes. It also shows how far technology has gone in the sixty years we’ve had since this video was first used.. Back then, computers were large, mechanical contraptions that cost thousands of dollars, while the average student had to use slide rules and what not. Nowadays, one would be hard pressed to find slide rules and not calculators being carried around by people. The mathematical functions the fire control computer shown in the videos can now be easily done on a $85.00 Scientific Calculator, or even a cheap, $5.00 calculator, if one is willing to work out all the problems. There is even an iPhone application for a ballistic calculator, although this is for small arms and not shipborne weapons, but the basic metaphor sticks.

While this short video (was it truly short compared to Blog Post #3?) may had been talk and information heavy, it is just one example of why animation is quite versatile. Not only can it bring us to the edge of our seats in anticipation, it can also bore us to death in the same seats. Well, that was what I expect would happen to some people, I quite enjoyed it myself. But I’m the weird person who was actually looking for this information in the first place.

Kudos to The Firearms Blog for posting the link.

EDIT: I was reading the blog post where the videos were posted in The Firearms Blog and apparently a commenter posted a link to the actual manual… Eh, nothing to see here folks, just one guy who gets all giddy with fire control systems and whatnot.

I commented on Andrew Steward‘s and James Davis‘ blogs.


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