At BIAFF 2013 John Anscomb won 4-Stars and a
Trackline Award for Edgar's Egg.
It was screened in the Sunday Gala show and attracted a lot
In the 1970's there was a classic
animated childrens' TV programme called Captain
Pugwash by John Ryan which used moving cutouts for
animation. This always intrigued me. When I
decided to have a go at animation this was the method I
used. I needed a storyline in which I could use the
voice of my Grandson, so Edgar's
Egg was hatched.
After putting the story down on a storyboard, I act out each
scene with a stopwatch, trying to keep to five seconds per
scene. For an eight minute film I need over ninety
pieces of artwork. At this stage I can see the finished
film in my mind.
Creating the artwork and the cutouts for the
movement takes around three months. Then the big day
arrives to film it onto tape. Yes, that's right, I still
use Mini DV Tape. I shoot using natural light, in
correct story sequence. Each scene is carefully edited
in camera, providing the voices, moving the figures, all shot
in real time. For some scenes I need to use both my
hands to operate and achieve the movements, so my wife is
often called upon to operate the camera and provide a few of
After this stage it is time to add music and sound effects to
the second sound band on the camera. All that's then
left to do is balance the sound whilst downloading through a
VHS machine and then eventually onto DVD. Hopefully I
have then achieved the film I saw in my mind four months
I know this sounds a strange out of date method, but it works
I have submitted three films to BIAFF over the last three
years. I was awarded three stars for the first one and
four stars for each of the following two films, including Edgar's
Egg. This method of animation is, for
me, a most enjoyable way of making films.
Just imagine, actors that never get bored and always do what I
tell them. Locations are not a problem, they are
anywhere I can imagine, plus my Grandson's voice will always
sound young and fresh.
Long live Captain
Captain Pugwash is a fictional
pirate in a series of British children's comic strips and
books created by John Ryan. The character's adventures were
adapted into a TV series, using cardboard cut-outs filmed in
live-action (the first series was performed and broadcast
live.) Ryan used a real-time technique of animation in which
cardboard cutouts of the characters were laid on painted
backgrounds and moved with levers.(Information courtesy of
Wikipedia.) You can see a Pugwash tv episode here.
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 00269085. Registered Charity No. 260467.
Authors' views are not necessarily those of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers.
Art work by Tony Kendle.
Page updated on
26 April 2013
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