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***STUDYING MOTION & MOVEMENTS

Personally, I have not seen much written about how to actually study or analyze "motion". There are general principles of motion & movement that deal specifically with the Art of Animation, such as slow-in, slow-out, squash & stretch, etc.. You should definitely add to your library, books that outline these basics of animation.

The Video Cassette Recorder, more commonly known as the VCR, is now a unVCR
iversal low cost home appliance; also, there is a vast resource of existing animation works at video rental stores. It is obvious that you can view the animation at home, but if you really want to get into that Single Frame Animation mode, it might be helpful if you observe the animation in Slow or Step Motion. Here is a technical aid to enhance your understanding of animation and motion which requires the use of TWO VCR's connected together so that you can make duplicate tape recordings. Usually there are instructions that come with the VCR, showing you how to hook-up both VCR's. So, let's make our Slow / Step Motion Study Tape:


1) In VCR # 1, insert the video cassette with the animation segment or scene that you want to study.

2 ) In VCR # 2, insert a blank video cassette.

3 ) Set VCR # 1 to play in SLOW or STEP MOTION speed, of the animation segment.

4 ) Set VCR # 2 to RECORD at REGULAR speed.

5) Cue both machines & start recording.

6) After you have made the recording, STOP both VCR's. Repeat above steps 1 to 5 and make about five or more recordings of the SAME slow motion animation.


What you are doing, is creating what is called a LOOP, that is, the slow motion scene that you have recorded is REPEATED numerous times. This method eliminates the need to constantly rewind the animationTV Set and Dinosaur !
and then play it back in slow / step motion; also, with constant rewinding you are putting excessive wear of that rental video cassette tape. You can now insert the master video cassette, with the multiple slow / step motion recordings, into the VCR, and view the slow / step motion repeatedly & uninterrupted (you do not need to play around with the remote control, as much). This allows you to Really Focus on the animation, and again, you do not have to constantly rewind the tape. I sometimes record the same slow / step motion scene at least ten or more times. For me, the repetitiveness of watching the same slow motion scene, not only helps me analyze the frame-by-frame movements, but also, helps me shift my reference to "time".....I am forced to think in single frames. I suppose, this is similar to a "Right Brain" principle. I know that animators who stay in practice with animation, eventually acquire that "altered state of time" intuition or skill, but, I don't animate regularly, so I use this method to assist me.

With this method, not only can you study the great Cel & Stop Motion Animation works, but you can also observe Natural or Real motions of animals, insects, reptiles, etc. (in slow / step motion). I have a library of National Geographics & Nature documentary videos and I have used the LOOP / Slow-Mo technique to observe & analyze how muscles and joints behave, which not only gives me insight about the understanding of motion, but also helps me greatly in designing Stop Motion Animation Armatures.

Update: The above was written some years ago and may sound complicated but not really. Easier to do than explain. Now that Burning Music CD's and / or Videos (aka VCDs or DVDs) has become more common, I suppose that one can burn videos onto CDs, creating VCDs which can play in many low-cost consumer DVD Players. Compared to a VCR (using video tape medium), with a DVD player, one has more options & control of single frame advance or slow motion features so that you can more closely study the movements.....viewable on your TV set. I have not gotten into burning DVD's yet and using the dual VCR method, for me was presented here as a quick "poor man's" method to help you study motion. In addition, one can just purchase DVDs with the subject motion you are interested in. First, you just watch at regular speed and do your timings using a Hand Stopwatch. Then afterwards, you study it and playback on your DVD player in single frame or stop motion step mode.

The Human Figure in Motion

Here are a couple of well known Classic books written by Edweard Muybridge, around the 1890's. Today with our modern photography, video, & computer tools, you can probably do a good job in capturing motion, for single frame study, but this, now classic, early motion study information was certainly advance technology at that time. You can Click on book images to take you to Amazon.com

Animals in Motion

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