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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Timing and Music... again...

Because we can't get enough of it... Here is a sin of my youth, the beginning of a short we made here in Denmark for TV on basically a shoe-string budget, way back in 1986-87.

In my attic, in September 2003, I found a tape with linetests and click track of this film, Quark and the Highway Robber, as I was doing research for a 13 minute making-of that I did for the DVD re-issue of the Danish 1986 feature which was the reason I moved from Holland to Denmark, Valhalla, in which Quark is a prominent character. I co-directed this episode of the Quark series, and timed it on a bar-sheet. It starts as a 12 beat, then shifts to a 10 beat.

The animation isn't great, at times even awful, but I though it may show that timing to a beat "isn't just an outdated way of organizing time by giving it structure, but it gives the scenes a backbone, and thus an attitude." (Loosely translated from something Børge Ring told me as reaction to my last posting on timing).

Having been misled by our management back in 1987, we, the directing animators at the studio, resigned, to work with Frank and Ollie on the Troll Story project. Though I had a LOT of constructive discussions with the musicians, Øyvind Ougaard and Michael Friis, the linetest shows the state of the film as I left the studio. The final color and sound is from disc 2 of the Valhalla Special Edition DVD, that was issued in 6,000 copies in Denmark...

Yes, the voice is John Cleese. I showed him the film on our Steenbeck cutting table. Management didn't think we lowly directors should be at the dialog recording in London. They sent one of the Executives. And I then had to find ways around this guy's errors, which was another interesting learning experience.

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Anonymous Hans Perk says...

A friend of mine asked for some clarification - this is what I wrote back to him:

I timed the whole thing, sitting with a metronome (the one you hear on the click track) in front of the board, and writing on the bar sheets. I chose the timing on feeling. I tried to see what worked with the acting and actions, following the mood of the different parts, and when things happen faster - I speed up. It seems right to speed up in the film - if the whole thing was the same tempo, it would feel slower and more predictable, I found.

Then, the animation started, as I had meetings with the musicians, who wrote some musical sketches based on my indications "here I want a 12 beat", and then, when we had a bit of a reel, and the musicians needed the proper timing, they got the pencil test reel with click track only. They worked from that. I had a sound studio record a big, big reel of 12 and 10 beat clicks onto perf tape and cut it together in an editing table. Then we telecine'd the film to video. The clicks were directly frame by frame fitting the action, so 12 frames were 12 frames, even though this was PAL, at 25 frames per second. So they actually wrote it for that. 2-12s were not one second, but 24/25th of one...

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 9:00:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

I forgot to add: the series starts with a 60 second generic intro where Quark makes a nuisance of himself in the village of the Giants, so they kick him out. That's why he comes flying into each situation in each of the episodes. The intro then cut to the title of the episode.

In 2003, when the Valhalla DVD finally came out, the last Quark film to be made (in 1987, after we left) was assembled for the first time. The Long Winter was animated by Børge Ring and Jan Sanctorum (main animator on Nicole Van Goethem's Oscar winning A Greek Tragedy). The film had been in two parts until then: the image was at the lab and the sound at the sound studio. When Swan Film went out of business in 1987, it got stuck there...

Friday, November 10, 2006 at 12:20:00 PM PST  

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