Practical Film Tips

Cartoon (animated film)

Animated film or animation, like no other film genre, is suitable for acquiring a feeling for movements and rhythms in film. You have to look very closely at how a movement works, where it accelerates, where it pauses, where it slows down and where it comes to a complete standstill. The mere falling of a leaf is a complex back and forth of all these movement components. Just try to feel this movement with your flat hand to get an impression.

The second characteristic feature of animated film is its simplicity, that can be used to achieve exaggeration. Unlike a real film, it’s easy to make a clay man’s nose grow and shrink again. And the animator should take advantage of that.You should see Animation Singapore for further tips.

So in the optimal case the desired movement and exaggeration decides on the choice of the animation technique.  If the stork is to fly away from greed, e.g. the beak, this speaks for a laying trick in which beak, head, body and legs consist of individual, independent parts.

The beauty of animated film is that basically everything can be animated. The cartoon is only the most popular form. With a little imagination, you can always find new, interesting materials for animation.

The known basic techniques are:

Cartoon, laying cartoon, puppet cartoon, kneading animation and real animation.
Less known, but very attractive are techniques such as:
Oil paint on glass, sand animation, scratch animation on film material, scratch animation on plasterboards prepared with paint.
But also wool threads, natural materials, wire frames, figures made of paper, matches or other objects can be animated.


Film is known to have 24 frames/second, video 25 or 50 fields/second.  A film minute therefore consists of 1440 single frames or 1500 video frames. The sluggish human eye is tricked by this speed with which the images flicker across the screen. We no longer see standing single images, but perceive a fluid movement.

The speed of the film can be reduced by up to 8 frames/second in order to still outwit the eye. In order to achieve a flowing movement in the animation, at least 3 pictures per movement phase must be taken. However, the classic motion phase works with 2 images/phase. An animation therefore has an average of 720 images per minute.

A trick table consists of:

a worktop which is motor-driven in 2 axes, often with rear projection possibility,
a bracket for the camera,
a holder for the light.


If the replica is reduced in size, increase the frame rate.
For enlarged replicas, reduce the frame rate.
The frame rate can be determined as follows:
Frame rate = normal frequency x 1/ scale


Constant light is particularly important for animated films; artificial light must therefore be used.


Single images are taken to produce an animated film. The good old Super 8 camera is very well suited for this. Of course, the camera must have a single frame circuit. A trip over a flea market is sometimes worth it. Better is of course 16 or 35mm film, because of the better picture steadiness.

You can also develop 8 and 16mm black and white negative film yourself. In the amateur sector there is hardly an alternative to Super 8. A special problem with viewfinder cameras is the parallax, i.e. the deviation from the viewfinder and the recorded film image.


It is unsuitable for animated films, as it records fields due to the system. In the video world, you can only work comfortably with the help of a computer. The choice of the camera is arbitrary, if a certain quality is not to be achieved. For the PC there are analogue (AV) and digital (DV) video cards which, together with appropriate software, allow post-processing.


For minimalists and those who just want to give it a try, digital cameras with an animation function in the menu are suitable. Disadvantage: So far, cameras that can do this take four pictures per movement phase, so that the animation never runs smoothly.


With trick tables it is usually not the camera that moves, but the worktop, but the effect is the same.


Motion Control means computer control of the camera. Sensors and motors are installed on the tripod head with which the camera can be moved. With Motion Control, a camera movement can either be repeated with super precision or programmed on the computer right from the start.

MOTION CONTROL is often used in model tricks.

The flight through the tunnels of the Death Stars in Star Wars, for example, was a motion control model trick.

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