“Camera” is Latin for “Room”

“Camera” is Latin for “Chamber”, or “Room”.

“Aperture” is Latin for “Opening”.

To make a room-sized camera, you’ll need a room with an opening that can let light in.

An 11-foot by 9-foot room will be the interior of our camera.

A 70-inch by 25-inch window is the aperture that controls how much light enters the room.

By darkening the room and placing various-sized holes over the window, we can begin to see an image of the outside world on the interior walls of the room.

The effect is similar that of a photographic camera… but this camera is large enough to also house the photographer within it.

Cycling through various window aperture sizes  (click or tap image to see comparison)

If we replace the circular window aperture with an elongated slit, we get different effects, as shown below.

Replacing the circular window aperture with a vertical slit  (click or tap image to see comparison)

To try this experiment yourself, you’ll need three things:

  • A room that can be darkened
  • A window
  • Cardboard with a hole in it, to serve as the aperture

Get the room as dark as possible, and then cover the window with the cardboard aperture.

Small cardboard aperture = dimmer but sharper image.

Large cardboard aperture = brighter but fuzzier image.

(click or tap image to see comparison)

To see the whole camera-obscrura-making process, including the totally-unnecessary math equations, here’s a video with basically the same content you can view in these gif images.