A rostrum camera is a special type of motion picture camera that animates still objects — mostly from an overhead position.

General description Edit

As the name implies, it's a camera suspended over a rostrum, or platform. The camera is locked down at a certain distance, and objects like photographs and documents are then placed onto the rostrum. The rostrum moves in a variety of directions, enabling the operator to move the subject while exposing individual frames of film in the camera. The result of patient exposure of multiple frames of an object on a moving rostrum is stop motion animation. Additional effects can be registered on the film by multiple exposure, varied exposure times, and precision movement of the rostrum.

Perhaps the most famous use of a rostrum camera was in the development of the so-called Ken Burns effect.

Use in Doctor Who Edit

The production of Doctor Who has not often required the use of such a camera, but it was vital to the production of the title sequences designed by Bernard Lodge during the early-mid to late 1970s and by Sid Sutton during the early to mid 1980s. Because of the extremely unusual nature of the camera, it requires a specialist for most effective use. The only known rostrum cameraman in Doctor Who history is Terry Handley, with whom Sutton made all variations of his title sequence. However, Handley ws only credited on The Twin Dilemma. Even then, the credit of "Rostrum Cameraman" was not employed; he was merely credited alongside Sutton under "Title Sequence".

2|entertain also seem to be using a rostrum camera in their comic strip history series, Stripped for Action — but it's unclear whether they're using actual rostrum cameras or merely a software-generated replica of the effect.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+