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November 26, 2006

Q&D - photo animatic

by sven at 6:00 pm

(Q&D = "quick and dirty" - an ongoing animation project)

click on image to play animatic (3.51 MB)

I've taken the photo storyboard and paired it with my scratch track to create a new photo animatic. I used iMovie to do the editing.


When you do animation, you can film first and then add incidental sound effects. It's a fine approach.

However, 70% of a film is the soundtrack. [A movie with good visuals but muffled dialogue is far worse than one with muddy images but crisp sound!] It makes a lot of sense to make sound your first consideration, and then have the visuals follow its lead.

If you're starting with a soundtrack, then there's a powerful reason to make an animatic. ...Yes, it gives you a feel for what the finished product will look like. But there's a much more important reason in that: Creating an animatic allows you to chop the soundtrack into discrete sound clips for each shot.

Having created an animatic (soundtrack + storyboard), I can now know exactly how many frames I need to shoot for each shot. If I use lipsync software, I can go even further -- figuring out what my keyframes are within a shot: where a mouth has to be open, or where a fist slams down on a table.

This is really exciting to me. Knowing how many frames I have to shoot -- and what beats I have to hit within each shot -- I think animating will become more like composition, rather than performance. I've yet to really try this out, but I'm imagining using the draw function in my framegrabber to sketch out incremented arcs of motion, and then checking my work with the audio playing back. ...It feels like this approach could really take a lot of the guesswork out of animating.

More generally, I'm also really excited about an approach to animation that puts the soundtrack first. Music comes very intuitively to me; I like the idea of my films being motivated by rhythm and tempo. If the sound comes first, I can preview the entire 4th dimension of the film early on -- instead of having to compile small visual chunks one at a time, praying that they'll ultimately add up to the pacing I'd imagined.

posted by sven | November 26, 2006 6:00 PM | categories: stopmo