Following this encouraging news I set about designing the title sequence, it was to last the length of the first part of the lyrics in the song. I wanted to attract the attention of the audience even before the first image hit the screen, I decided to begin the film with the phrase “Prepare to enter the realm of the imagination!” spoken over the black leader by the girl who played the part of the goddess. The music was then slowly faded in as the image of Asmodaus the villain, appeared gesturing his arms in a classic magical gesture, his form then dissolves as flickering lights dance across the screen, through which titles dissolve in and out. The dissolves were created by the cameras lap dissolve facility. The flickering lights were created by placing crinkled tin foil on a record turntable, behind which the title cards were placed. A universal diffraction filter (one which splits any streak of light into a rainbow effect) was placed over the camera lens and the camera framed just above the surface of the tin foil so that it was not visible in the frame. Alight was placed at an angle to shine on the tin foil, the reflections showed as streaks of coloured light through the filter, dancing in circular motion as the turntable rotated. (See fig. 1). This dancing light effect was also used to signify the entering and exiting of the characters in to the dream.
The voices for the characters proved to be the biggest challenge, one which was never completely solved. For the voice of the goddess Pandora and her father I wanted the effect of them speaking in an immense chamber at the beginning of the film as Pandora’s father explains their dilemma in the domed city. To create this ambience I used an echo microphone and on reflection I wish that I hadn’t. Some of the clarity in the voice is lost. For the voice of Asmodaus the dark entity I wanted a menacing unearthly voice and for his metamorphic familiar a less imposing weird voice. For both of these I used a home built voice synthesiser, but again the results were disappointing. The voices had the right weird qualities but at the sacrifice of clarity. Although I can understand the vocals (well after all as the script writer I should), it takes the average person more than one showing to fully understand what is said.
I discovered that the 9 standard mouth movements shown in all the books are suitable only for comic characters. Using these as a guide I created less enforced movements and because of the similarity of some of the amended mouths I ended up with only 6 standard movements. I am quite pleased with the lip sync but I can’t take credit for the track reading as this was done by David Jefferson.
In one sequence of the film the Goddess Pandora conjures up a doorway in the sky, an exit-way from the dream. She tries to persuade the dreamer to go with her through the doorway to escape the dream and Asmodaus the dark entity who is trying to possess the dreamer’s mind. Through the doorway there appear to be points of light rushing toward the
viewer. This effect was created as detailed in fig. 2. A doorway shaped cut-out was made in a background sheet. Disk 2 is animated behind disk 1 in a circular motion. The resultant pin holes are made by the shaped slits in both disks (the black lines on the drawing of the disks) sliding past each other.
The animation stand was home built (it’s handy to have a father who is a joiner!) and evolved through three versions. The lighting was provided by two Photax ES lamp holders and 150 W domestic spot lamps. A blue A82 filter was used over the camera lens to correct for the colour balance. Zooms were achieved by the camera’s own lens, not by moving the camera. This allowed lap-dissolves to be made whilst the image is moving through a zoom (as you can’t shoot single frames for animation during a lap dissolve with my super 8 camera).