Action Analysis : Analysis and Discussion of Pole Vault and High Jump Action

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From the collection of Hans Perk at A. Film L.A. and reprinted here with his permission.

Class on
Date Held: Monday, July 26, 1937
Conducted by: Don Graham

Last week two actions were studied - the hammer throw and the shot put, both of them involved displacement of weight, both of them involved movement of the body in relation to the actual control of the weight. Tonight there will be a couple of actions for study entirely different in character. One will be a pole vault and the other will be a high jump. This study will hinge around the relationship of the speed of the jumper and the use of that speed in relation to his weight in the problem of propelling himself, rather than propelling a foreign object. Last week it was a problem of the athlete's speed and his weight in relation to the projectile. This week it is his speed and his weight in relation to the projection of himself. In other words, it relates back to himself, so although the basic principles may be similar in many ways, the aim is different there.

In the study of these actions - for instance a shot put - although an animator would probably never get a problem exactly like this in animation, the distribution of weight and the co-ordination of all the parts is something he can use in many actions. The same is true of these jumps. He may never have a character pole vaulting, but he may have to have a character propelling himself over something - an action that is related to this one. So, for the sake of the new men, don't look for literal application of these actions, because they will probably never be found. It is the principle that is important, not the outward manifestation of an action.

- Pole Vault Reel Shown -

Before going into this action any farther, just what is the problem. First of all, it is seen that there are several distinct phases to the action which would have to be understood before the action as a whole could be satisfactorily attacked. First of all the action is made up of a run and a jump, and the reaction is a fall. Then there is the start to the run, and the relationship [...]