Would puppets be a form of animation?

Practical tips for filming

3.3 Animated film

Like no other film genre, cartoons or animation are suitable for acquiring a feeling for movements and rhythms in the film. You have to deal very carefully with how a movement works, where it accelerates, where it pauses, where it slows down and where it comes to a complete standstill. Just the falling of a leaf is a complex back and forth between all these movement components. Just try to simulate this movement with the palm of your hand to get an impression.

The second characteristic peculiarity of the animation film is the simplicity,
with which one can achieve exaggerations. In contrast to real-life films, it is easy to let a modeling clay grow a long nose and then shrink it again. And the entertainer should take advantage of that.
In the optimal case, the desired movement and exaggeration decide on the choice of animation technique.
If, for example, the stork's beak is to fly away from greed, this speaks for a laying trick in which the beak, head, body and legs consist of individual, independent parts.

The nice thing about animated film is that basically anything can be animated. The cartoon is just the most popular form. With a little imagination, you can always find new, interesting materials for animation.
The known basic techniques are:
Animation, laying trick, puppet animation, clay animation and real animation.
Less known, but very attractive, are, for example, techniques such as:
Oil paint on glass, sand animation, scratch animation on film material, scratch animation on plasterboard prepared with paint.
But wool threads, natural materials, wire frames, figures from paper servings, matches or other objects can also be animated.

As is well known, film has 24 frames / second, video 25 or 50 half frames / second.
One minute of film therefore consists of 1440 individual images or 1500 video images. The slow human eye is tricked by the speed with which the images flicker across the screen. We no longer see standing individual images, but perceive fluid movement.
The speed of the film can be reduced by up to 8 frames / second in order to still outsmart the eye. In order to achieve a flowing movement in the animation, at least 3 images must be recorded per movement phase.
The classic movement phase, however, works with 2 images / phase. An animation therefore has an average of 720 images per minute.

A trick table consists of:
a worktop that can be moved in 2 axes by motor, often with rear projection option,
a holder for the camera,
a holder for the light.

If the replicas are scaled down, the frame rate must be increased.
The frame rate must be reduced for enlarged replicas.
The frame rate can be determined as follows:
Frame rate = normal rate x 1 / scale

Constant light is particularly important in animation; so artificial light has to be used.

Individual images are recorded to produce an animated film. The good old Super 8 camera is very suitable for this. The camera must, of course, have a single image switch. A trip to a flea market is sometimes worthwhile.
Of course, 16 or 35mm film is better because of the better picture position.
You can also develop 8 and 16mm black and white negative film yourself.
In the amateur sector there is hardly any alternative to Super 8.
A special problem with viewfinder cameras is parallax, i.e. the deviation between the viewfinder and the recorded film image.

VIDEO is unsuitable for animated films, as it records half images due to the nature of the system. You can only work comfortably in the video world with the help of a computer. The choice of camera is arbitrary, provided that a certain quality is not to be achieved. For the PC there are analog (AV) and digital (DV) video cards which, together with the appropriate software, enable post-processing.

For minimalists and those who just want to try it, digital cameras with an animation function in the menu are suitable. Disadvantage: So far, cameras that can do this have recorded four images per movement phase, which means that the animation never runs smoothly.

With trick tables it is not the camera that usually moves, but the worktop, but the effect is the same.

Motion control means computer control of the camera.
Sensors and motors with which the camera can be moved are built into the tripod head. With Motion Control, a camera movement can either be repeated very precisely or programmed on the computer right from the start.
MOTION CONTROL is used a lot in model tricks.
For example, the flight through the Death Star tunnels in Star Wars was a motion control model trick.


Until the end of 2014, the young film scene at the BJF maintained a wiki with many practical film tips. Some of these tips and tricks are still valid today, so this page is still online. Have fun browsing.