The action in a scene was planned by the animator and the director at the time of the handout. If there was music, there would be either a prcscored track or a tempo set by the musician that could be marked on the exposure sheet. When a metronome was set to that tempo, those written beats became audible, giving a good indication of the amount of time for the action of the scene. If there was no sound to use as a guide, the metronome was the only way to determine the length of any of the action.
A setting of 12s (twice a second) was usually used, which meant that a beat came every 12 frames. This just happens to be the tempo of all marches, and offers a good alternative when no metronome is handy. Whistle any well-known march until the rhythm is well established in your mind, tap your foot and have a friend count the taps as you act out the scene. You will not be more than a frame off. Milt Kahl once proclaimed in a lecture, "Everyone walks on 12s—unless there's something wrong with them!" Walt Stanchfield immediately drew a sketch of a man at the doctor's office saying. "Something's wrong with me. Doc. I've been walking on 13s."
With the metronome running, the moves were tested, how long does the character walk, how many steps does he take, when does he stop, how long is he held? It was all noted on the exposure sheet, corrected, altered. and tried still another way. until the very best pattern of action had been found. It wascalled. "Finding the quickest way to do the most."
To conceive of a series of actions that would put over the story point, keep the personality of the character, and be imaginative enough to be entertaining was a big assignment. To do it all within the limits of the allotted footage, with a feeling of accents to match the beat and gestures that gave sync and rhythm, took more than mere drawing ability.
A visitor walking through the halls would hear the scattered ticks and tocks coming from several rooms at the same time, as the animators listened and acted, considered and timed. That metronome was a stern, unrelenting taskmaster, but it was responsible for packing more entertainment into small amounts of footage than any other procedure.
The inspirational sketch by Mel Shaw that suggested the scene.
The scene with no sound track for a guide.
Scene description: Animals playing; fox in water; hound dives in. splashing water all over his friend.
Tempo: Set metronome on 12 beat.
Footage: Undetermined, but keep brisk and busy.
In this scene from The Fox and the Hound, there had to be the spirited feeling of two kids in the old swimming hole. The animator decided to start the scene with the fox alone in the water, then bring the hound in on the ninth frame. Listening to the metronome, he determined that the dog should run for 16 frames before he jumped. For the dive, the pup should have a big leap with a float ing feeling—in contrast the busy action of the ro Again going to the rocti nome, the animator test different types of leaf with the one that took h
Charting the action in tl manner on the exposk sheets gave the animatoi chance to see the relatit ship of all the moves in j scene as well as the prec number of frames to used in any action.
The bouncing ball has only one frame of contact with the ground.
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