Genre Spotlight: Animation

We all love a good animation film. They can make the impossible feel real, achieving things and helping to create worlds that a live action film would be hard pressed to achieve. However, being able to achieve this excellence has been a long process that has developed due to the hard work and dedication of many individuals over decades. The wonders that it has produced include films such as Toy Story, The Lion King, Princess Mononoke and many, many, others.

So, how did animation develop to create whole new worlds for both children and adults alike to explore and enjoy? Just a pinch of movie magic and a whole bunch of innovation.


Animation used to be one of the most painstaking and time-consuming elements of filmmaking. It has gotten more efficient through the years, due to innovation in the technology used to create the images. For example, artists now create their characters and scenery on tablets instead of with a good old fashioned pencil! But this is a long and complicated process; the typical animated film takes at least four to five years to complete!

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The start of the animation process involves creating storyboards of the finished script. This may be surprising, but the voice over is also something that occurs at this point. Either narrator or characters are recorded at this point in order to create the base of the movie. Animators then create the images to go along with the sound, this way the lips are in sync and the realism of the movie is heightened as a result. At home, this may not be the process you take. But, this method has worked for decades and has produced some of the finest films.


One of the final steps of creating an animated feature involves the adding of sound effects. These are the click clacks, the footsteps and little breaths that go into making an animated feature seem as real as possible. These sounds are a part of a method used in SFX known as Foley.

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Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound, added to films, ads or television in order to enhance the overall audio quality of the feature. The aim of Foley is to be so well integrated that the audience does not even notice and it becomes a part of the film for them. This sense of reality is one that is integral to the audience experience of the film and the ultimate aim of those involved. At home, the replication of Foley is pretty straightforward. You can record footsteps to go along with your animated character and so on, splicing it so that it is as if the animation is, in fact, walking on the solid floor and not just floating on a silent page.


One of the most important elements of animation, which you should never overlook, is that of staging. It is directing the audience’s attention toward the most important element of a scene and helping to tell the story through this primary focus. This is an idea that has stemmed from the similar idea of ‘blocking’ in the theatre. However, whilst the stage deals with the places of characters and props, animated film also has to consider the angle of the camera and the lighting of the scene also.

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Being able to follow the actions of a character, whilst understanding the physical layout of the scene as a result of their placement is an important part of staging. The effective use of staging is also the best way to move the narrative arc along in an animated movie without being heavy handed. So, in order to move a home animated movie along at an acceptable pace, you must consider the staging of your feature. Simply adding this simple technique can change the whole narrative of your feature, allowing for you to create a pace and move your storyline in an organic way.

Have you created an animated film on cine that you want to preserve on DVD? To find out more about how we can help convert your cine film, please contact us on 0800 592433 and we will be happy to help.