Exposure Sheets
Exposure sheets are used by the animator to keep track of all the drawings that they’re going to be animating, the timing of each drawing, the order they go in when shooting as well as the leveling. Let’s go through each of these individually.

First let’s take a look at an exposure sheet. Each studio will have their own personalized sheets printed up for their productions but they all have basically the same elements on them.

Starting up at the top, this area deals with information that tells the Where, What and Who of the scene: Where does the scene go?

-Prod. No. stands for the Production Number that this exposure sheet is for. Each show is assigned a number. In our cases it would be the title of the assignment, such as “Wink” or “Single Sentence 5”, etc.

- Scene No. stands for Scene Number. Each “shot” in your film is called a “scene”. a group of scenes is part of a “sequence” and the grouped sequences are part of the individual “sections” of the film. On a larger production such as a half hour show or a feature film these would be labeled as “Section- Sequence - Scene”. The sections are usually labeled as a letter starting with “A” and then moving through the alphabet. Sequences and scenes are numerical. The very first scene in a film would thus be “A - 1 - 1”. The second scene would be, “A - 1 - 2” and so on.

During any production, revisions will be a normal process in making the film tighter. Some scenes will be deleted and new scenes added here and there to make the overall story and action flow better. Because you are taking scenes out or putting new one’s in doesn’t mean that you need to go back and renumber all the scenes. A scene that is removed is simply gone and the numerical sequence simply ignores them. If you are adding new scenes however, you need to add a letter after the scene number.

Here’s an example of some sample scenes, after revisions, listed in order:

D - 4 - 1... D - 4 - 2... D - 4 - 6... D - 4 - 7... D - 4 - 7a... D - 4 - 7b... D - 4 - 8

Scenes 3, 4, and 5 have been deleted and two new scenes have been added between scenes 7 and 8.

- Scene Ftg. stands for Scene Footage or scene length. This is measured in either feet if you’re working to film (40 frames per foot) or the length of the scene in frames and/or seconds and frames. In the digital world you can work to the standard 24 frames per second or 30 frames per second. This exposure sheet has 30 frames which thus means that each sheet represents one second of on screen action.

- Description is a space for you to write in very simple terms, what is going on in the scene. Don’t get into picky little details. It’s simply a description to give you a quick sense of what’s happening at a glance. This description is written only on the first page.

- Animator is the space for the actual animator to write their name in for identification purposes. The same is true for the boxes labeled Assistant and Camera. It simply assigns responsibility for the actions taken.

- Number of Drawings is where you write in the total number of animation drawings that are used in this scene.

- Sheet ____of____ indicates the individual sheet numbers as well as the total number of exposure sheets for this scene. You would fill in the blanks appropriately; if there are 4 sheets total, each sheet would be labeled: 1 of 4 ,
2 of 4 , 3 of 4 , and 4 of 4 .

- Approved by is the section for the supervising director to put their name once the finished scene has been completed, reviewed, and approved.

- Special Instructions is the area that you would use to indicate any special things that happen throughout the scene. This could include: held cels, truck-in or truck-out, rotations, pans, long holds in action... anything that’s out of the ordinary that needs to be called to the attention of anyone else working on the scene.

The areas below these are specifically for the How of the scene. Beginning at the left:

- Track this is where the breakdown of the sounds are written in, specifically the vocal track.

- EFX this is where any sound effects are noted, such as hit sounds. This might include foot steps, door slams, clicks... anything that links specifically to a character’s actions on screen.

- Action are indications of specific actions for the character that is being animated within the scene. Things like, “character stands up... walks over to the door... grabs the door knob... tries to open the door... but it’s stuck...

- Levels This section is separated into 5 levels plus the BG level for the background. Level 1 is the bottom level and 5 is the top. If your character is fully animated on only one level, then all the drawings are listed in order as they correspond to the exposure count.

If the character is broken up into separate levels, for example, the body is on one level and the mouth on another. The body would be on the bottom, level 1 and the mouth on top of this on level 2. If the mouth was on level 1 and the body on level 2, the mouth would be hidden from view.

Within the computer you can have as many levels as you want. The trick is to keep track of them on the exposure sheets. More about this in a bit.

- EXP is for the frame count or "Exposure". This begins at 1 and ends on whatever number you finish the scene at. This is sequential with no numbers missing and no extra numbers added.

You’ll notice that in the column the numbers go from 1 to 9 then zero and then back to 1 again. This allows you to add numbers as you need them. The first zero on sheet 1 will be for 10, so you simply add a 1 in front of the zero. The next zero is for 20 and the last one is for 30. On the next page, the first zero is for 40, and so on.

Typically, you will shoot your animation “on two’s”. This means you’ll expose each drawing for two frames. You can get away with filling in every other exposure. The exposure should always correspond to the drawing.

- FLD This line is for indicating the camera’s field size.

- Camera This space is reserved for any special instructions that deal specifically with the camera. You would indicate the start and stop positions for things such as truck-ins or truck-outs, rotations, pans, or tracks. I also use this column to write in my "Premier" time in seconds and frames.

- N/S & E/W This is for indicating the camera’s position in relation to the field guide grid coordinates. Typically this would be ¢/¢ (center/center). If it were an off center position, you would write in the appropriate number and letter. For example: 3N and 5W.

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