Harold Whitaker by John Halas – Page 3

Tales of Hoffnung. Click for larger pic.

3. When it comes to timing I know very few who can match Whitaker’s instinct of how to use just the right amount of frames to get the best out of a gesture. His experience in how to minimise whatever mood is created with the right time structure is unique. Fortunately in the book “Timing for Animation” his skill is documented for the benefit of others. It is a skill which one acquires by trial and error but at the same time to develop it to such an extent as Harold Whitaker one needs an extra sense which not too many have in the animation industry.

4. This is very much evident when it comes to design skill of figures. There are several Hollywood animators, for instance, who can manipulate a figure round. But it is essential to clean them up afterwards in order to recognise the type of character in question. Whitaker can draw, his figures are always clean, and on most occasions an improvement on the original model sheets. Craftsmanship is, of course, an integral part of animating figures, and to create a convincing character in any production.

Tales of Hoffnung. Click for larger pic.

5. When it comes to preparing the assembled scenes for the camera, the technical knowledge of the camera’s capabilities also comes into consideration. Whitaker’s knowledge of cel manipulation and intelligent use of aspects of photography is outstanding, and from the cameraman’s point of view, most reliable.

It was a combination of these skills which inspired me and others during the early seventies, to ask Harold Whitaker to head a crash training course in Stroud. The rest is animation history. Among the pupils such talents arose as Brian Larkin, Graham Ralph, Cohn White, Phil Robinson, John Sinarwi and scores of others who make up the bulk of today’s skills in contemporary animation. Previous members of the studio like Tony Guy, John Perkins, and Phil Robinson have all benefited from working closely with Harold Whitaker.

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