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Topic: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

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  1. #1

    What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    A lot of animation people are expecting music and sound effects to be completed before the animation is locked... is this the right way to do it? I could understand that if you are doing a major production you probably start working during production in terms of recording and experimenting with sounds and maybe musical themes... but for a 3-10minute short animation?

  2. #2

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    With human actors, there is no such thing as perfect timing. Yet, with animation, there is the ability to time something to be perfectly on cue. Thus, animators tend to want the audio tracks to be done before they animate to them.

    I'm a 3-D animator, and an amateur one at that. Yet, I can say, it is easier for me to animate to music than it is to compose music to an animation. Animating to the music allows me to pick the cues and visualize them on the stage properly. For example, if I wanted to time a set of particle emissions to a sequence in the music, I just load the music file into the animation program, pick out each portion of the sequence to start the next emission at, and set up the emitter. Doing it the other way around allows for errors and can cause the music to not match up to the animation as well as it could.
    Colton J. Provias
    Film Score Composer, Location Sound Mixer, and Sound Editor
    Full-stack Web Developer

  3. #3

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by C J Pro
    Yet, I can say, it is easier for me to animate to music than it is to compose music to an animation.
    What type of animation are you talking about?

    If you are working on a series where there is a plot and story-line, the storyboard and voice-over would be far more important than any incidental music, and when dealing with animations stories, most of the music is incidental/background anyway.

    I do see that if there was a montage sequence you had to cut to a pre-existing track, then definitely you would want to cut to the music.

    But I can't imagine an editor cutting an animation series to background music?

    We are working on a series now and the 22 minute episodes are all locked, and we get spotting notes from the director with suggestions/ideas about where and what kind of music to write.
    "International Award Winning Arabic Fusion"
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  4. #4

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    It depends on the animation.

    If it centers on motion dynamics, the music should follow the motion.

    If it's a musical, or centered on dialog, it's generally better to get the audio to flow naturally, and cut the animation to fit.

    When Elmer sang "Kill da Wabbit! Kill da Wabbit!", there's no doubt that the audio was locked and the picture followed. But the same could be said of any musical film or music video.

    This summer we did a 48-hour film - and drew "musical" from the hat. It was like working inside out. We wrote the story, the dialog and the songs/melodies, and then I wrote temp tracks and recorded click, melody and simple backing. I then recorded the actors/singers. Only then could we film.

    We put the temp on an iPod/boombox and filmed the actors lip syncing. I was able to fill in the "songs" while they filmed, but for disjointed melodies and scene-to-scene, I couldn't compose until the video editing was completed.

    It was the longest 48 hours of my life!

    So the final answer is ...it depends. And the better answer is ...collaborate as best you can for the final product.

    (FWIW, here's our 48 film: http://colonelcrush.com/movie/index/00240001 )

  5. #5
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
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    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    LOL This is great Jon ... tatoo on banana ... ROFL!

    Great work everyone!

  6. #6

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Id agree with the above, work as closely as you can with the animators from the start. Because synchrony is so much more crucial in an animation then a "film", you need to be onboard as soon as pos. Try to get a near to perfect animatic as possible, so you know timings of different shots, and roughly where in a shot something is gonna happen, then you can get to work on it. Always keep going back to the director, theres nothing worse than working hard on something, thinking that youve got it bang on, becoming totally attached to it, and then showing them it and getting a "err, actually we thought something else from them..."

    Its also worth noting that you can get away with pulling time around a bit in animation....ie. you can slightly slowdown or speed up to hit a cue, just for a moment. The audience is concentrating primarily on the image (and hopefully the story) so wont notice slight ralls/accels. if done subtlely...

    (Im studying soundtrack composition atda mo, focusing on animation shorts this term...its brilliant!)

    Ben

  7. #7

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_Karl
    LOL This is great Jon ... tatoo on banana ... ROFL!
    Glad you enjoyed it, Steve.

    BTW, I just can't stay away from bad girls... Jenine was played by my daughter - and my wife wrote the banana line!

    Like I wrote above: "collaborate as best you can."

  8. #8

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Even thought music is usually one of the last things done in a film, even in live action, there is almost always a track of preexisting music that editors use for pacing the scene. Often times they have heard it so often, a film composer's job is difficult because they are used to it.

    In other words... if they had their druthers they would have the music first. Especially in animation. One of the first tricks (easily done in computer animation) is to take a preexisting piece and animate something using the music as a guide. If I compose a piece for video and music the music is ALWAYS first.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    THanks everyone, that answers alot of questions. Where are you studying Ben?

  10. #10

    Re: What's up with Animations being any different than Film?

    Hey P,
    Glad we could all help. Im studying at Bournemouth University, England, under the guidance of Prof Stephen Deutsch, who has over 30 years experience in the business and 15 or so years teaching. He also teaches (or did up to this year) at the National Film and TV school in London, one of the best, but decided to reform the course at Bournemouth this year, believing that It will be better than the course in London, and I have to say, I think it is. The teaching is superb, intense, and the oppurtunities for collaboration with directors and animators are endless! The course is called "MAPP Soundtrack Production - composing for the screen" or some such! Check it out!
    Ben

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