I am still a novice in the medium of animation – not having made a film. I am all for your idea of an animation newsletter. I receive the American animation magazine “Funnyworld” whenever I can and it has mentioned various books that I cannot seem to find anywhere. For example Joe Adamson’s book on ‘Tex Avery; Mike Banner’s book on the Loony Tunes and Merry Melodies; also Leslie Cabarga’s The Fleischer story. All these books are on my extended list of wants but it seems futile to search in England.
I am pleased to say that I have read Leonard Maltin’s bible on the animation studios “Of Mice and Magic” Very entertaining it was too.
Bury St. Edmonds.
EDITOR: The above books are out of print but if any reader has a copy to sell or lend to Mr. White we will pass the information on to him.
LENS FOR CLOSE UP WORK
My camera is fitted with a ‘macro’ lens which enables anything less than 5ft. away to be photographed. In order to focus correctly the camera must be moved toward the object if extreme close-ups are required. As the camera is in a fixed position on my rostrum it is only possible to focus on the 10 field area and not below as the macro position makes the zoom inoperative.
Do you know of any supplementary lens I could use to compensate for this?
Mr. K. Baldwin.
EDITOR: You can get a close-up lens from your local photographic shop which will leave your zoom lens to work normally. A close-up lens is a simple one element lens that screws into the thread in the front of your camera lens in the place where the lens hood is attached. The close up lens also has a thread so that the lens hood can still be used. They are made in a range of sizes to suit most cameras. The size required is indicated on your lens front. There are three main types of close-up lens the 1 diopter lens works in the range of 38” to 20”, the 2 diopter from 1 9’ to 13” and the 3 diopter from 12” to £“. The distance is measured from the close-up lens to the subject. If your camera has a through the lens rangefinder this will work normally with a close-up lens in place.
The close-up lens will not effect the exposure nor will it degrade the image.
PLASTICINE ANIMATION PUPPETS
I have been using plasticine to make animation puppets but have come across some problems.
I have made a ‘humanoid’ type figure and to give it extra rigidity I molded the plasticine onto an armature made of cut up tooth brushes wired together where I wanted joints. It stands 10½ inches tall.
The figure does not seem all that stable in walking positions and fell over twice during the shooting of one short sequence. The head is a little large proportionally- but not excessively so. I find that in order to make it more secure I have to press the feet down onto the film set floor, sort of molding them to stick down. This splays out the feet and makes it difficult to keep a consistent shape during filming.
Another problem is that the feet cannot be lifted off the ground for a walking action but must stay in contact with the ground, so that you have to make the puppets shuffle.
I was using paper on the set floor, and the puppet left behind faint foot prints, fortunately they were not too noticeable on the film.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience or if someone has a technique of construction which means the feet can by lifted off the floor for walking.
EDITOR: The legs of plasticine puppets are usually kept short and their feet large so that they can stand on their own. Each type of animation has things that it can do best. Plasticine is very good for making things turn from one shape to another by gradual molding.
AMATEUR TELEVISION STATION
Having recently bought an Agfa Movex 6 sound camera, I am now keen to explore it’s application towards the creation of animated “visual jingles” for transmission via my amateur television station.
It’ll take me till later in the year to get to the point where I’m ready. I will be transmitting both live and recorded material on the 70cm amateur radio band, for which I have a license. I also expect to be able to swap VHS cassettes worldwide.
N . A . Macdonald . Hamilton, Lanark.
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Originally printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 1 (Summer 1982)