The difference, I was told, between an animatic and a Leica reel is sound… animatics are silent. I guess that it’s an advanced storyboard tool used in story and direction meetings for movies. And for movies, it makes sense, since it would be really difficult to record audio that would be of any use. You can, though, get an idea of staging and the visual rhythm of the film.

In animation, it’s really different because of the amount of work involved in production. Without a reasonable idea of the sound, it’s very hard to time scene length, cuts and so forth. I tend to work directly from the leica reel to the finsihed animation, so getting the scratch track is a very important step. I do that before I even cut a rough (when I tried it the other wau around, I almost always wound up trashing the sequence after I put the sound in). I also have found that the characters will come out more fully when their voices can be heard. In fact, I just wound up changing the basic personality of one of my characters after recording some improvisations to get his voice down. I made a discovery along the way and needed to change the way he looked to suit.

I tend to record in scenes, doing each character separately. Because of the noise level in my current studio (A/C unit, computers, etc) I’ve been using my laptop and sitting in a big closet. The hanging clothes make the room wonderfully dead. For mic’s I use an MXL 92 condenser with a TubeMP preamp directly into my computer, recording with Cool Edit Pro (which was, I think, bought and absorbed by Adobe). I try for the cleanest signal possible. I also videotape it for reference (in case I wind up using the scratch track I want to be able to see what my face was doing).

I’ll talk about Foley and sound effects at a later time.