For #CreativeConnections video installation artist Thomas Jack Brown has created a multi-platform animated video art piece called ‘#42DegreesLater’, inspired by the rainbow movement during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K. 

The use of 42 degrees comes from research into the meteorology – according to the Met Office website one of the conditions for a rainbow to appear is that the sun needs to be at an angle of less the 42 degrees above the horizon. The lower the sun in the sky the more the arc of a rainbow the viewer will see.

In order to create #42DegreesLater, I had to think creatively so that I could adjust my workflow, as key parts of my practice have been affected or completely ruled out due to governmental policy. It is absolutely not a complaint that my workflow has been affected, rather the opposite – it has been a strong challenge to stay creative and produce this work with these restrictions in place.

Thomas Jack Brown

You can also watch the video projected onto the artists window with the NHS appreciation audio in the background - #42Degreeslater

How #42DegreesLater was created

  • The first part was to gather the resources I had to hand and assess their functionality. I couldn’t use my stack of traditional animation paper, as I knew I had to scan each image later on and the rather large animation paper I had to hand wouldn’t fit in my A4 scanner. This meant using 300+ sheets of A4 office paper and dividing them in half with a ruler and blade. Dividing them in half also meant I could use my smaller animation lightbox.

  • For the paint, I used pots of paint I usually use for painting miniatures, as they are to hand and of a good quality. However, as the animated piece is inspired by the rainbow movement, I could only use shades of the colours in a rainbow, which when looking back I feel was the most challenging part of the task. 

  • The next part was creating the individual images that make up each section of the animation. I could have done this through software but, painting each image by hand felt like the right thing to do, as the images of rainbows in the windows of U.K households have been created by hand. I painted several free-form loops of images for the piece, but I also created pencil-drawn templates to follow when I wanted the colour to move across the screen at a more regular pace. The templates were created using a ruler, compass and protractor to measure the degrees/distances at which the images should move.


  • Once I had completed the painting, each image had to be scanned into my laptop so that I could create the animated loops. This was a laborious process but gave me a lot of control in the long run. When I had scanned the images I was able to open each one in Adobe Photoshop and clean each image up; removing pencil marks and mistakes I made while painting and then start the final video in Premiere Pro. This was a relatively quick. Each set of images was placed on their own timeline, digitally altered to fit the screen format and have the white paper background removed. Finally, each image within a set was set to be shown for a very short amount of time, one image after the other, as this creates the illusion of animation - I’d recommend reading the optical illusion called the ‘persistence of vision’ if you’re curious for more information.

  • With each set complete, the next task was to build the final animation. Again, a relatively simple task as it just meant copying and pasting each section to a new project in the software. 

  • To complete the animation, I added some video of the sky and audio recorded in my local park.

  • With the video complete, the final step is to install it in a window in my house for people walking past to see. I have a sheet of translucent vinyl that, when mounted on a window and with a computer projector pointed at it, will ‘catch’ the projected beam of light and display the image to people walking past the window. This will create the intended look - that I have my version of a painted rainbow image in the window of my house.

Anyone wishing to download, show and enjoy Thomas's #42DegreesLater video can do here.