Tuesday, March 29, 2011


When I was young, we used to watch movies on these things called VHS's. They were kind of like blu-rays and DVDs, but they were these big clunky black plastic boxes with some black tape inside on two reels. A machine would read the tape while it spun from one reel to the other. Weird, right?

Anyways, my parents had this VHS of some cartoon shorts from this little known place called the National Film Board of Canada, or the NFB for short. The VHS included all these cool cartoons like my personal favourite, "The Cat Came Back". You can watch it here. The comments are actually pretty funny, too.

After doing some online searching of the film board, I came across this video from 1971.

This animated short by Norman McLaren features synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word. To make this film, McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track, which he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear.
This short, like the others on the site, features work made completely by Canadians. Some are acted in real life, some are animated, and all are awesome. Norman McLaren was here able to create the perfect marriage of sight and sound, and it is very interesting to watch the evolution of rhythm while we hear it. Personally, coming from a drumming state of mind, I am a rhythm fiend as well as an amateur art buff and find this short to be very informative by way of explaining the intricacies of rhythm to the visual mind.

My parents have instilled in me the importance of supporting Canadian made...everything, and so I can really appreciate that we as Canadians have much talent and success under our belt, especially by way of film. The NFB supports these Canuck filmmakers in various ways, as does the Canadian government who funds some of the NFB's endeavors.

If you want to find out more about Norman McLaren and his part in the NFB, start by watching his most famous film, Neighbours.

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