When I was a kid growing up in sunny Florida, I would often shoot cut out animation outside with my Super 8mm camera and using the sun as my movie lights. Usually it worked out pretty good, but sometime when I would get the film back from the photo store a week later, I would discover that the images would get darker whenever a cloud blocked the direct sunlight. I learned to shoot short scenes using the sunlight method and to avoid partly cloudy days. Eventually, I set up a few photo floods and would shoot the animation inside my house. I read books and magazines like Super 8 Filmmaker, about shooting on copy stands and learned from a lot of my mistakes. Click here to take a look at this magazine from my childhood and maybe yours as well.
Recently, I was teaching a small group of students how to scan in their drawings into ToonBoom's Animate Pro and made a joke that the hardest part of this process was loading and unloading the drawings from the scanner. I really appreciate this process, since I remember the days of having to lift up a platen of glass, place the drawing on the pegs, close the platen and then having to turn several dials to move the peg bar or the entire compound to the north, south, east or west. I was working under a manual Oxberry animation stand shooting on 16mm film and moving all these direction each frame, without making a mistake. This process could take hours to shoot and it took a lot of concentration to do. So doing the same moves and pushing a button to scan in a drawing is simple to me. Yes, it does take time to do, but its gotten a lot easier than those old Oxberry days.
One student wanted to avoid this scanning process altogether and had come up with a way to shoot his animated film using his cel phone. I was amazed to see the results and wanted to find out how he did it. And so, here is Dota Sata's pencil test entirely shot on his cel phone.
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Next posting: Animation Stand on your phone: Part 2