Timing Animation To Music – 2

2 Sep


I’ve been reading the comments and links on musical timing posted on the Animation Archive and I think it’s really starting to make sense to me now. If you haven’t checked them out go to Mark Mayerson’s and Hans Perk’s posts on musical timing, it’s really helping me make sense of it. I’m sure I’ll struggle with the concept for a while but I was stuck on a scene and after reading these posts I was able to sit down with just a metronome, actually it was just some freeware and figure what beats per minute the song I’m timing to was at. I came to the conclusion that the song is at 90 beats per minute, thanks to Mark’s post this equal 16 frames per beat with 2 beats per measure or 32 frames per measure. Here’s the original bar sheets that I timed out.


My mistake was I broke down the beat wrong. I was kind of flip flopping from one beat per measure, or 16 frames, to two beats per measure, 32 frames. That’s why I was having so much trouble timing out some of the action. The song is only going to be played for 15 seconds, that would equal 360 frames. The frame count above the action for each measure falls way short of that. I was sitting here wondering what I did wrong. Once I determined what the right beats per minute is, it became surprisingly easy and most importantly accurate. Here’s the new bar sheets I timed today.



Since I now had the beats per minute and frames per measure I was able to sit down at my kitchen table without the song or even a metronome, just thinking of the song in my head and keeping the beat, which was like saying 1-2, 1-2, and following the action from the storyboard to time out the scene. This method of timing is gold. If you look at the last measure, the charcater is spinning for eight frames and then he slaps into a pose and holds it for the remaining 24 frames. It’s like counting 1-and-2-and-1-and-2, further breaking down the beat. The reason is the song comes to an abrupt end during the first beat, on the “and”. If I was to time it the way I had started timing this cartoon I would spent so much time moving key poses around until I placed it in the right frame. I timed the short scene out in a matter of minutes, and I’m just a novice. More importantly, is that is totally accurate. I didn’t believe that I had timed it right so I checked it in Flipbook. I imported the song, listening to it slowly frame by frame while following the bar sheets. The steps for the walk were on the beat every 16 frames as timed and all the other actions would line up in sync with the song. I don’t know if I’m really doing it totally correct but I do know that I got the result I wanted. It’s amazing to me that here’s something I tried a while back and got stuck on and put on the backburner popped up and with just a handful of comments and blog postings that people have shared that I’m alreay pointed in the right direction. Stephen Worth really needs to be commended, or given a badge or at least a nice shiny gold star for sharing those Ising bar sheets and encouraging people to discuss the topic. I can’t believe I missed Hans’ post back in May, that’s about the time I started to get interested in timing this way. I’m going to start trying some other scenes to really get this down but I think this really open up some new ideas for me. I hope that sharing my mistakes and how I corrected them helps someone who’s just starting to learn this like I am, and thanks again to all the professionals who shared their knowledge of the subject.

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5 Responses to “Timing Animation To Music – 2”

  1. MikeMatei September 2, 2006 at 5:04 am #

    the only thing I can imagine more tedius then doing lip sync has got to be timing animation to music. great stuff. keep it up.

  2. Brett W. Thompson September 2, 2006 at 6:58 am #

    Wow!! Thanks for this post, Kevin, and I’m so glad you figured it out, that’s amazing! 🙂 🙂I can’t wait to see the final animation.. It’s just so exciting that you figured out how to sync to music like that, wow!! 🙂

  3. Kevin Langley September 4, 2006 at 4:16 am #

    I don’t even want to think about doing lip sync. I don’t think anything will make me better at that except years of practice.<>I can’t wait to see the final animation.. It’s just so exciting that you figured out how to sync to music like that, wow!! 🙂<>I’ll post it whenever I actually finish it. My drawings still suck but I’ll give it my best. BTW, I have to say Brett you’re enthusiasm on each comment you leave is infectious. Thanks!! You’re a man who loves his cartoons.

  4. Anonymous September 25, 2006 at 5:43 am #

    Nice Barsheets You created.How about posting a blank template that you fellow animators can download and use.Thanks in advance.ECJ

  5. Andy J. Latham July 13, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi Kevin, I only just saw your posts on timing. They are really interesting and got me looking into the subject more. I wonder if you might find my < HREF="http://andysanimation.blogspot.com/2008/07/beat-it.html" REL="nofollow">latest post<> on the subject at all interesting as I have tried to simplify all these beat and frame calculations.Cheers!

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