Labour Saving Animation with Lip-sync

Series of six drawings of man hitting woman.

When I’m shooting a cycle of cels I start with the pile in order, face up on the left of the rostrum with the first one on top. After each one is exposed, it is put face down on the right-hand side. At the end of the cycle the cels are transferred back to the left, the pile being turned face up to put them in the correct order for starting again.

For the dialogue sequence I had the mouth movement cels spread around in a semicircle, using chairs at the sides so they would all be within easy reach.

One of the advantages of animating with cels is that everything is worked out before shooting starts. The thinking is done at leisure when the exposure sheet is filled in so that when one is under the hot lights of the rostrum it is just a matter of following this prepared plan.

With the film in the can and off for processing, it had taken two weeks for the drawings – doing them in free moments – and about sixteen hours camera work spread over a further week.

The processed film was striped and the sound transferred from tape using a synchroniser. Anyone not having a synchroniser should not be put off making a lip-sync because there are companies who will transfer sound from tape to stripe. Cartoons are usually quite short so the charge should be modest.

Combining cels exposed as follows: 1D 0-8 frames, 2D-2 frames, 3D-2 frames, 4D-6 frames, 5D-2 frames. (Mouth on separate cels). Woman turns to start combing. (Body on one cel, head and arms on others) Drawing 1D follows C3.

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Originally printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 6 (Autumn 1983)