Steamboat Willie Exposure Sheet
Courtesy of Leslie Iwerks' great film about her grandfather Ub, "The Hand Behind the Mouse," as found on the Disney Treasures DVD set for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, here is a composite of two frame grabs of a shot of the exposure sheet of the first public close-up of Mickey Mouse in his role as Steamboat Willie. Who knew this still exsisted?
Curiously there are 46 frames to a page, not 48 (3 feet or 6 beats), which could lead one to speculate that this maybe was a page from some random ledger. In any case, in the animation, Mickey's head, arms and hands are on the top level, his body and feet on the next (which also has him completely for a few drawings), then the wheel by itself. Interestingly, the scene actually starts 2 feet (32 frames) before the line indicating the start of the scene, so I suspect this was a later addition to be able to see him "normal" before he started whisteling.
This may well be the first "sound animation" done at Disney's, maybe around June or early July 1928. It seems to me that the title of the page and the instruction "Start scene here" are in Walt Disney's handwriting, while the lyrics of the song are not...
On the second image I filled out the bottom of the left two columns as they are missing, just in case you want to have a look for yourself. By the way, I thank David Gerstein for an interesting resource for the study of the song Steamboat Bill.
This leads me to another question: obviously the sound films were made for a projection speed of 24 frames per second. But what about the earlier silent films? What about Oswald? I can step-frame through it and see things on ones, having one drawing per frame, on a 24-like frame per second DVD. But was this not, as most silent films, made for 16 frames, or one foot of film per second? For then all the silent films have been misrepresented and are all running too fast on DVDs! Anyone?
[Addition: the VERY interesting first comment answers this!]