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John Redfern, Master Horologist and Animator, 1939 – 2019

John Redfern was more than simply a superb animator; he was an expert horologist and so understood clocks and watches and literally what made them tick. And what made them special. Ever the perfectionist, he rebuilt the individual parts of famous old clocks as highly accurate computer models so that he could animate them precisely and show us how they worked.

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John Redfern had a genius for seeing to the essence of things and understanding how they functioned. More than that, he had the skill to guide others through his vision. His mastery of cut away animation rendered the most complex mechanism an open delight, at once inviting and revelatory. Through a Redfern animation, even a child could grasp the wonder of how clocks work.

For me, the challenge is to explain complicated mechanisms and principles so that they can be understood by viewers of all ages and abilities, yet be enjoyed by the expert.

John’s animations were done for the love of the object and the excitement of learning. Love and Passion for the subject are really what sets John’s work apart.

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In this ANIMATING TIME animation, John Redfern explains how animation is the ‘art of the impossible’ and the world of a pocket chronometer is revealed. Now we take such images for granted, but it’s worth remembering the innovative genius of John Redfern who opened this world to us all almost thirty years ago.

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