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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Storyboards are graphic organisers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualising a film, animation or interactive media sequence.

The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s.

A film storyboard is essentially a large comic of the film or some section of the film produced beforehand to help those involved visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. Often storyboards include arrows or instructions that indicate movement. In creating a film, a storyboard provides a visual layout of events as they are to be seen through the camera lens. And in the case of interactive media, it is the layout and sequence in which the user or viewer sees the content or information. In the storyboarding process, most technical details involved in crafting a film or interactive media project can be efficiently described either in picture, or in additional text.

In animation the storyboarding stage may be followed by simplified mock-ups called “animatics” to give a better idea of how the scene will look and feel with motion and timing. At its simplest, an animatic is a series of still images edited together and displayed in sequence with a rough dialogue and/or rough sound track added to the sequence of still images (usually taken from a storyboard) to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together.

Some writers have used storyboard type drawings (albeit rather sketchy) for their scripting of comic books, often indicating staging of figures, backgrounds and balloon placement with instructions to the artist as needed often scribbled in the margins and the dialogue/captions indicated.

As I will have to develop the skills necessary to create storyboards if I am to follow a career in the field of concept art, I initally wanted to create a storyboard for a sequence of scenes from my story “In Memorium”  In order to familiarise myself with storyboarding further, I purchased a book from the Walt Disney Studios Archive Series, entitled “STORY”

This beautiful book  lavishly showcases the most brilliant story artwork created by Disney artisits such as Bill Peet, Don DaGradi, Joe Rinaldi, Roy Williams, Ub Iwerks, Burny Mattison, and Vance Gerry for such films as Steamboat Willie and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Alice in Wonderland and 101 Dalmatians, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Some of the storyboards from the book are shown below:

I found this book to be stunning and inspirational, and it inspired me to work on a storyboarding sequence for the scenes I would be portraying in my comic book pages for In Memorium:

Below are some of the storyboards I produced for In Memorium:

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Pocket Watches :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Wind Pocket Watches as featured in “In Memorium”

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Pocket Watches

One of the important features of the story “In Memorium” is the use of pockets watches. The pocket watches are used by the characters as the means by which they can enter the underworld. The pocket watches used are known as “time-locks”, and are based on the earlier key wind pocket watches.

In the late 16th century, watchmakers began using brass instead of iron, and  watches became smaller and light enough to fit into the pocket of a jacket or  vest.  According to Stevens, the pocket watch was the most popular style of  watch for more than two centuries.  Until the 19th century, pocket watches were  handmade and fairly expensive, so they were considered luxury items and mostly  worn by the upper class and merchants.

Types of pocket watches

There are two main styles of pocket watch, the hunter-case pocket watch, and the open-face pocket watch.

Open-face watches:

An open-faced watch, is one in which the case lacks a metal cover to protect the crystal. It is typical for an open-faced watch to have the pendant located at 12:00 and the sub-second dial located at 6:00. Occasionally, a watch movement intended for a hunting case (with the winding stem at 3:00 and sub second dial at 6:00) will have an open-faced case. Such watch is known as a “sidewinder.” Alternatively, such a watch movement may be fitted with a so-called conversion dial, which relocates the winding stem to 12:00 and the sub-second dial to 3:00. After 1908, watches approved for railroad service were required to be cased in open-faced cases with the winding stem at 12:00.

Hunter-case watches

A hunter-case pocket watch (“hunter”) is the kind with a spring-hinged circular metal lid or cover, that closes over the watch-dial and crystal, protecting them from dust, scratches and other damage or debris. The majority of antique and vintage hunter-case watches have the lid-hinges at the 9 o’clock position and the stem, crown and bow of the watch at the 3 o’clock position. Modern hunter-case pocket watches usually have the hinges for the lid at the 6 o’clock position and the stem, crown and bow at the 12 o’clock position, as with open-face watches. In both styles of watch-cases, the sub-seconds dial was always at the 6 o’clock position. A hunter-case pocket watch with a spring-ring chain is pictured at the top of this page.

There is an intermediate type, known as the demi-hunter (or half-hunter), in which the outer lid has a glass panel in the centre giving a view of the hands. The hours are marked, often in blue enamel, on the outer lid itself; thus with this type of case one can tell the time without opening the lid.

Types of watch movements

Key -wind, key-set movements:

The very first pocket watches, since their creation in the 16th century, up until the third quarter of the 19th century, had key-wind and key-set movements. A watch key was necessary to wind the watch and to set the time. This was usually done by opening the caseback and putting the key over the winding-arbor (which was set over the watch’s winding-wheel, to wind the mainspring) or by putting the key onto the setting-arbor, which was connected with the minute-wheel and turned the hands.

Stem-wind, stem-set movements

 In the 1850s, the stem-wind, stem-set movement did away with the watch key which was a necessity for the operation of any pocket watch up to that point. The first stem-wind and stem-set pocket watches were sold during the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and the first owners of these new kinds of watches were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Stem-wind, stem-set movements are the most common type of watch-movement found in both vintage and modern pocket watches.

Stem-wind, lever-set movements

Mandatory for all railroad watches, this kind of pocket watch was set by opening the crystal and bezel and pulling out the setting-lever (some pre-1891 hunter cases have levers accessible without removing the crystal or bezel), which was found at either the 10 or 2 o’clock positions on open-faced watches, and at 5:00 on hunting cased watches. Once the lever was pulled out, the crown could be turned to set the time. The lever was then pushed back in and the crystal and bezel were closed over the dial again. This method of time setting on pocket watches was preferred by American and Canadian railroads, as lever setting watches make accidental time changes impossible. After 1908, lever setting was generally required for new watches entering service on American railroads.

Stem-wind, pin-set movements

Much like the lever-set movements, these pocket watches had a small pin or knob next to the watch-stem that had to be depressed before turning the crown to set the time and releasing the pin when the correct time had been set. This style of watch is occasionally referred to as “nail set”, as the set button must be pressed using a finger nail.

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Most of the sketches I produced in preparation for my “In Memorium” project are contained in my sketch books, but I thought I would post a couple of my sketches on the blog. The first image shows the sketches I produced of St Stephen’s Tower, generally known as “Big Ben”:

I then produced the following inked sketch of my representation of Victorian London.

I have come to the realisation that drawing architectural structures is not really my strong point, but it is something that I will have to work on to improve my backgrounds when creating storyboards.

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In order to produce a representation of the Big Ben clock tower, known as St Stephen’s Tower,  as part of my graphic work, I needed to research the architectural features by looking at photographs and illustrations of the tower, both from the present day and also images from Victorian times, which is the era in which my story is set. In reality the architectural design features on the tower and on the clock face is way too intricate to attempt to reproduce graphically within the timescale I have available, so I have based my representative of Big Ben on the actual clock tower, but using far less detail than in reality.

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Ornate decoration on the Clock Tower’s upper floors owes much to Augustus Welby Pugin’s influence on the main architect, Sir Charles Barry. The two architects collaborated successfully on the Palace of Westminster’s neo-Gothic style which is displayed to great effect on the clock dials.

Each dial is 7m in diameter and is made from cast iron. Each dial contains 312 separate pieces of pot opal glass, a type of glass with an opaque finish.

The hour figure of four o’clock is shown by the Roman numeral IV, rather than IIII, as is more commonly used on clock dials.

Under each clock dial there is a Latin inscription carved in stone: “Domine Salvam fac Reginam nostrum Victoriam primam” which means “O Lord, save our Queen Victoria the First.”

Photographs of the clock face:

The photograph below was taken behind the clock face in 1910.

      

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Famous around the world for keeping impeccable time, the Big Ben Clock Tower was fully operational on September 7, 1859.

Although most people refer to the entire tower as the Big Ben Clock Tower, the name Big Ben actually refers to the bell housed within the tower.  The tower is actually St Stephen’s Tower. The bell itself weighs almost 14 tons, and takes its name from the man who first ordered the bell, Sir Benjamin Hall.  The four clock faces of the Big Ben in London are each 23 feet in diameter; the biggest of its kind when it was constructed.  Certain pieces of the clock face of the Big Ben in London have been designed for easy removal, to allow for cleaning and maintenance of the clock hands.

The base of each of the clock faces of the Big Ben in London bears a Latin inscription meaning, “Lord save our Queen Victoria I,” as the Big Ben Clock Tower and the adjoining Palace of Westminster were constructed during the Victorian age. Due to ground conditions, the Big Ben Clock Tower now leans slightly to the Northwest, and also moves back and forth by a few millimeters each year. Big Ben history has long recorded the clock”s remarkable reliability.  The engineering of the clock is such that the actual mechanisms of the clock itself are well protected from climate changes and harsh weather.  Though the clock has experienced slowing at various times through its history, the clock continued to run accurately during The Blitz of World War II.

Although Charles Barry was the chief architect of the Palace of Westminster, it was Augustus Pugin who designed the Clock Tower, and this was Pugin’s last design before his final descent into madness and death, and Pugin himself wrote, at the time of Barry’s last visit to him to collect the drawings: “I never worked so hard in my life for Mr Barry for tomorrow I render all the designs for finishing his bell tower & it is beautiful.” The tower is designed in Pugin’s Gothic Revival style.

The Clock Dials

The clock and dials were designed by  Augustus Pugin.  The clock dials are set in an iron frame 23 feet (7 m) in diameter, supporting 312 pieces of opal glass, rather like a stained-glass window. Some of the glass pieces may be removed for inspection of the hands. The surround of the dials is gilded. The hour hand is 2.7 metres (9 ft) long and the minute hand is 4.3 metres (14 ft) long.

The Great Bell

Cast in 1856, the first bell was transported to the tower on a trolley drawn by sixteen horses, with crowds cheering its progress. Unfortunately, it cracked beyond repair while being tested and a replacement had to be made. The bell was recast on 10 April 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as a 13.76 tonne.  This was pulled 200 ft (61 m) up to the Clock Tower’s belfry, a feat that took 18 hours. It is 2.2 metres tall and 2.9 metres wide. This new bell first chimed in July 1859. In September it too cracked under the hammer, a mere two months after it officially went into service. According to the foundry’s manager, George Mears, Denison had used a hammer more than twice the maximum weight specified.For three years Big Ben was taken out of commission and the hours were struck on the lowest of the quarter bells until it was reinstalled. To make the repair, a square piece of metal was chipped out from the rim around the crack, and the bell given an eighth of a turn so the new hammer struck in a different place.Big Ben has chimed with an odd twang ever since and is still in use today complete with the crack.

Big Ben and the quarter bells as shown in the Illustrated News of the World in 1858:

The Movement

The clock’s movement is famous for its reliability. The designers were the lawyer and amateur horologist Edmund Beckett Denison and George Airy, the Astronomer Royal, and it was constructed by the clockmaker Edward Dent; after his death in 1853 his stepson Frederick Dent completed the work, in 1854.  As the Tower was not complete until 1859, Denison had time to experiment: Instead of using the deadbeat escapement and remontoire as originally designed, Denison invented the double three-legged gravity escapement. This provided the best separation between pendulum and clock mechanism. The pendulum is installed within an enclosed windproof box sunk beneath the clockroom. It is 13 feet (3.9 m) long, weighs 660 pounds (300 kg) and beats every 2 seconds. The clockwork mechanism in a room below weighs 5 tons. On top of the pendulum is a small stack of old penny coins; these are to adjust the time of the clock. Adding a coin has the effect of minutely lifting the position of the pendulum’s centre of mass, reducing the effective length of the pendulum rod and hence increasing the rate at which the pendulum swings. Adding or removing a penny will change the clock’s speed by 0.4 seconds per day.

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