Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Tashlin Techniques...

As we have seen Frank Tashlin's cartoons already in 1936 after I have finished reviewing them, I decided that I should write a bit about Tashlin's film techniques and I found just the right part in Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic - I found a perfect example.

In the cartoon 'Porky's Romance' (a cartoon that I haven't yet reviewed); there is a good example of how Tashlin makes quick-cut scenes to make the pacing look faster as well as timing. A good use of that is featured in Porky's Romance where Petunia notices that Porky is holding onto a box of candy and she dashes out of the scene in which she welcomes Porky into the house. Maltin even appeared to  have freeze framed each shot to calculate how frames appeared in each shot. Don't forget that there are 16 frames in a foot; and each second in animation is 24 frames per second. Maltin has broke down each shot here that I'll repost again

  • Petunia spins around and exits frame in a cloud of smoke. 29 frames (1 feet and 13 frames = 1-13).
  • She runs to door, opens it, and exits. 16 frames = 1-00.
  • Now just a puff of smoke, she whizzes through the door (exterior shot). 6 frames = 0-06.
  • The supersonic cloud soars down the front walk 18 frames =  1-02.
  • The candy box gets closer and closer, as seen from Petunia's point of view. 12 frames = 0-12.
  • Petunia overtakes Porky, circles around, and yanks him out of frame, leaving the dust--and the flowers--to settle in her path. 31 frames = 1-15.
  • Petunia and Porky zoom around the front steps back up to the house. 17 frames = 1-01.
  • The cloud of smoke whizzes through the front door (exterior shot). 6 frames = 0-06.
  • Petunia--again visible only as a cloud--enters and slams front door shut before leaving frame. 14 frames = 0-14.
  • Petunia is suddenly seated casually on her sofa, legs crossed, attentively watching a dazed Porky and ready to devour his candy. 8 frames = 0-08.

As mentioned so in the book after the breakdown of those scenes (and they're pictured too, don't forget to take a look). The total number of frames in those quick scenes are 157 frames in ten separate shots which is only 6 seconds and 13 frames long (6 and a half seconds); and the total amount of footage is 9 feet and 13 frames (9-13). As Leonard Maltin has written down; the first time that any director has attempted to use that short amount of quick-cuts in any short which was very impressive of it's time and that's what makes Frank Tashlin a very great director.

We've already seen that used in a similar technique that Frank Tashlin has used in Porky in the North Woods but I couldn't break down the amount of frames since I can't freeze frame it very well but here I've found a great example in the book (you can read the text for yourself but focus on the Porky's Romance text though). I hope this post helps as I've managed to scan the pages of a good example of Tashlin's timing since he was much more sharper than any director of that time.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to compare and contrast the speed cuts from "Porky in the North Woods" and "Porky's Romance" to see what Tashlin learned from the former cartoon.

    As Mark Kausler notes in his LTGC commentary, Frank's cutting on "North Woods" is too fast at some points -- without the ability to freeze-frame the images on video, you actually lose what's happening because the cuts fly by too fast. In comparison, you never lose the line of action in Petunia's attack on the candy box in "Porky's Romance". It may only be the difference of an extra frame or two, but the cuts don't confuse the audience.