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.

[...] In general the staging is prearranged, but if an animator had a front or back view of this action he would have a hard time putting it over. It would be best read in a three-quarter back or three-quarter front or profile. For instance, suppose the Goof is running along and he gets to a ditch, and sees a reed or pole sticking in the ditch, and he makes a dive for it and pulls himself over the ditch. He might do it in a very screwy way. It would be important to know at which angle he runs into the scene to know what would be the best way to out over this particular action. It is important to remember that he doesn't change direction at any time in the actual action.

- The Action -

At the start of the action he lifts the tip of the pole, but he doesn't lift it very high - about a foot and a half off the ground - and as he lifts the pole he manipulates his arms in order to get the most leverage out of them. Notice that he pushes down the right arm and tenses with the left, which immediately throws the tip of the pole up. As he does this he throws his weight into the right leg and falls forward. Now there is a clear picture of the start into the run, where he just leans forward - the place for a good key drawing. The propelling force, however, is not from the foot as much as it is just a drop forward. It is the same old principle that in order to generate a walk or a run usually the main factor is a drop rather than a push. Here, as he leans forward, he lifts the left leg up and is immediately in position to catch his fall and go into his run. He now is in a position where he has the pole a little low in front, is way back at the end of the pole, and he carries the pole fairly high in his arms. He keeps his arms bent throughout so that there is the least possible drag on the pole, and the least interference with his legs. As runs he keeps the pole fairly high in back so that he won't have to move it much when he gets to the hole in which he places it.

NOVROS: Isn't that a circular action in his shoulders?

Yes, there is, and also a back and forth movement, really a spiral movement, and that is because of the movement in the upper part of the body which follows the movement in the pelvic mass.

McCORKLE: He uses the pole as a weight to start into the run.

The pole weighs about five or six pounds, but there is a lot of leverage involved. So, when he lifts the pole up in front, he has most of his weight out in front, and this calls for a great deal of effort in his arms. In the run he works hard with his left arm, but his right arm is the one that moves the most.