In this animated film the music was recorded first on to tape. It was then transferred to 16mm optical film. All the piano notes were found and the number of frames between each note was entered on to the music score as shown in the first picture.
This enabled all the animation to be carried out frame by frame. The leaping button presented a bigger problem in that one could not toss it into the air in a haphazard way as all control and timing would be lost.
A large vertical steel surface was erected above the ballet set directly under the track that the leaping button was to take. On this steel surface the arced track which the button was to follow from take off to landing, was drawn. The length of this track was divided into the number of frames which the button was to take in the leap. Due attention was paid to initial acceleration at the start of the leap!
Two hairs from my golden locks were then attached to each side at the top of the button and fastened at the top to a spindle capable of rotating the button whilst in the air. This spindle was fixed to a small magnet which was placed on the steel sheet. In this way as the magnet was animated, and the spindle turned frame by frame along the curve drawn on the sheet, so the button hung in the air as it moved through the same curve. The camera then captured these images frame by frame to get the movement of a button leaping fully synchronised to the music.
The bottom photograph shows a typical layout where the choreography was planned out. The
Tracks along which the buttons were to be animated to match the film’s frame numbering, were drawn.
These sheets were then photographed on to 35mm
slides and projected down onto the set to enable
accurate button positioning.