Out of frustration, we made a sad face using two lights and a step ladder. While fiddling with that, we found that we could make only one or two components of the face visible at a time by blocking off the edges of our light source. From there we filmed a shot of progressively revealing the entire face starting from a small square of light on one eye.
By increasing the contrast, lowering the brightness, and looping that video, we could create a repeatedly appearing and disappearing face.
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