Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-five shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Beatronome Update

When I made my little Beatronome, a beat-metronome--to tap or play beats as used in animation--for the PC, I used a method to beep the PC speaker, which seems to disagree with certain computers. That is why I have added the possibility to have the program generate regular computer sounds through the sound card. To do this, one has to (re)install the program using the executable in this 1.8 MB ZIP file. PC ONLY!
Right-click and choose "Save As..." etc.

Beatronome Screen Capture

The Beatronome is free of charge, adware free and virus-checked.
I hope more people will try using it, and through that get a better understanding of timing for animated pictures. What I REALLY hope is that users will post their findings when they check the timing of films - and maybe find something curious...



Anonymous dan says...

I just downloaded, even though I'm not animation director. It's very useful for just studying animation.

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:38:00 AM PST  
Anonymous sunny kharbanda says...

Thanks! This is a great little tool. Since most classic cartoons are only available from DVD or tape transfers today, it's hard to figure out their timing by stepping through and counting frames. Your beatronome will make timing analysis much easier.

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 7:38:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Andy J. Latham says...

Thanks a lot for this update Hans, it works perfectly now! I'm looking forward to using it :)

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 10:27:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Andy J. Latham says...

Hi agian Hans. I have a question about beats used in animation. I know that in the 'golden age' cartoons were timed to beats so that the music would easily fit when It was recorded. I also understand that the movements of the characters were set to the beat too. I can see this easily in Looney Tunes cartoons.

I just wondered if there are any modern examples of this? Is it a technique used in more modern Disney movies, or even Pixar movies? I'd be interested to investigate this myself if you don't have the answer.

I have been told sometimes that variation in timing is good in animation. I think it is sometimes called 'texture'. Does this not conflict with the idea of using a beat, or can the two co-exist?

Thanks :)

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 11:19:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Hi Andy - I know of few modern cartoons that use this directly, but then there are quite a few I have not seen. We used beats in Anna & Bella, but only in sequences, not throughout the film. I myself co-directed a short film in Denmark (Quark the Highway Robber, 1987) that I timed to beats all the way through. Not a great film, but I think the timing worked largely, and even covered up some of the worse animation.

To put it bluntly: until I wrote extensively about this after Steve Worth posted his Harman/Ising "Shuffle off to Buffalo" bar-sheet two years ago, all this was considered a "lost art" only practiced by those who had had direct contact with folks like Dave Hand (viz. my mentor Børge Ring), and maybe a few musicians with keen observing powers.

Simplistically stated: If you time the film well, and the composer writes a clever score, the film can be all one beat and you still have lots of texture. Also, as in Mickey's Elephant, there may be parts without music, or even with music on a different beat than the animation was timed out to: that depends on a clever composer (who does NOT put a 12 beat score on 10 beat animation as that will never fit, but using 12 beat on 16 beat animation may FEEL faster and hit the beats once in a while.) I really liked some of the solutions the musicians on my Quark film came up with - off-beat things which gave this feeling of texture you speak of, within the beat structure. Again: clever composers.

Using beats at all is a matter of taste nowadays (or first and foremost a matter of knowing they exist!) Then again, most bits that are set to songs are in some way set to a beat. The director may just not know it. But if you use beats, you give time a structure, a backbone. Just make sure it does not appear to be a crutch. THAT takes taste and musicality...

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 1:38:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Andy J. Latham says...

Thanks for that reply Hans. I suppose if you just listen to a piece of classical music, you hear lots of texture, while the music clearly sticks to a beat, by definition. These music principles being used in animation is still new to me and it's a fascinating subject.

Many animators play musical instruments, myself included. It is said that this shows the strong relationship between the two media and the instinctive rhythm that is needed for animating well. I wonder if good timing in animation follows a beat, whether intentionally planned that way or not. Maybe good animators just automatically do this without thinking about it, even where music isn't used.

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 1:54:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Keith Lango says...

Ahh, I really like the update. My computer was one of those that didn't play nice with the previous version of the Beatronome. I'm using it along with Crystal Metronome to work out some personal work. I'm doing a musically driven test animation to work out the kinks on a new CG character rig (always a necessary step). My plan after that is to move on to doing a short film fully worked out with beats, an exercise I'm very much looking forward to. I'll try and share results when i have them.

Friday, March 6, 2009 at 6:41:00 PM PST  
Blogger paul says...

Hi Mr. Perk, I'm Paul Christoforos, you may not know me but how are you today?

Furthermore, I just wanna say thank you for this wonderful program that I'm using. You know, with this Beatronome, I can animate in any frame rate I wish and it makes timing study and analysis a breeze now that most animation is on Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-Ray, or whatever.

Your animation fan and student,


Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 1:41:00 PM PDT  

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