Sunday, 29 January 2012


A belated welcome to Cartoon Brew, and more recently to the folk at Big Screen Animation, who have been kind enough to post articles on The Last Belle - and thanks too to the people who have taken the time to leave comments. It's hard to imagine how much more difficult it must have been only a handful of years ago  (before the internet, basically)  for people hawking their films around festivals and trying to get a gauge of audience feedback...

...And on the subject of how much things have changed in so very few years, after my recent posts on the rostrum camera I got to thinking about some of the stories our cinematographer John Leatherbarrow has told me from his decades of experience in the business. For example, it wasn't so very long ago that all animated maps and diagrams on television were still hand drawn, hand animated with their arrows and moving dotted lines, etc, and photographed on 16mm film. As John has explained to me, for a breaking news story the artwork would have been prepared somewhere like the BBC graphics department, biked over to his rostrum facility in Soho, where he shot like a maniac (no time for mistakes or re-takes, he had to get it right first time), after which John would often leap onto his own motorbike and tear around at illegal speeds to the laboratory which would then process like crazy to develop the 16mm print, which would then be biked back to the BBC and cut to length against a voice over, and finally (presumably after telecine transfer) be broadcast, all by the skin of their teeth. And this wouldn't be an occasional bit of stress, but a daily event. It was the only way to do it then. As I say, this was not so many years ago, but it seems like a whole different age now.

At the Disney studios the amount of time between the relatively crude black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon 'Steamboat Willie' and the lush, full colour complexity of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' was a mere 9 years - an incredible period of artistic change and technical development. It feels to me like our industry has, in the last several years, been going through - is still going through - another period of incredible change and development. This is a very exciting time to be sitting at our drawing boards, syntiques, or monitors. Even for people like me who want to bring a few of the more archaic techniques along for the ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment