Creating Video

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factfile1.8 Frame Rate


You may have found that with only 16 images your flip book motion was quite uneven. Creating a flipbook with two copies of every frame would have made it smoother and three should have improved it still further. Do you agree? CrowYour experiment demonstrates that the number of pictures or frames viewed per second affects how smooth the movement appears to the eye: if shown at below 10 frames per second (fps), as in a flipbook, the motion appears jerky. However, if the rate is too fast the movement seems to blur. Modern film animation runs at 24 fps, which makes movement seem natural.

Because hand-drawn animation is very labour intensive, moving characters are often shot "on twos" to save time and effort - meaning that, like group two in the last activity, one drawing is shown for every two frames of film. This requires only 12 drawings per second rather than 24. For economy the cheapest cartoons are frequently shot "on threes", or even "on fours": in other words, they use three or four frames per drawing, and so need only 8 (24/3) or 6 (24/4) drawings per second.


How many individual frames might you need for a 30 second animation at 10 fps? If you calculated correctly, you'll understand why animators try to cut down on the number of drawings they need. (Clue: 30 x 10)

In traditional animations the drawings used to be transferred using ink and paint to 'cels' or sheets of transparent plastic that could be layered on top of each other so that characters and other elements such as background could be animated separately. When a whole sequence had been transferred it was filmed with a special camera mounted on a stand.


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