TAPPTOONS SOFTWARE FOR TRADITIONAL DRAWN
CARTOON & STOP MOTION MODEL ANIMATION
29th August 2013
COSGROVE HALL RETURNS - AND IN DIDSBURY, TOO
As reported in The Times recently the introduction of tax incentives for the film and tv industry in the UK has made
it possible for companies to actually produce animated programmes here in Britain. Manchester`s very own animated
tv producers Cosgrove Hall Films ceased to exist in 2009, soon after being absorbed into ITV and having left their
Chorlton-cum-Hardy studio which was demolished and replaced with a block of expensive retirement flats named after the famous
Sadly, Mark Hall died in 2011 but his son Simon along with Francis Fitzpatrick and Brian Cosgrove have set up a new
studio in Didsbury to begin producing two new animated series called "Pip" and "Herogliffix". Recruitment has started, so, if you`re into Flash animation production, now`s yer chance.
Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment,
Towers Business Park,
More Cosgrove Hall info HERE
13th January 2013
UHDTV - the Next Generation of Telly
******UPDATE 10th October 2013***
Since I posted this item back in January the BBC have announced that they will be transmitting BBC4, BBC3, BBC News 24, CBBC and CBeebies
in HD on Freeview from early 2014. This is very good news for HD starved Freeviewers. The rest of the original article is still
relevant, I think:
It seems like no time at all since the introduction of High Definition tv in the UK.
Now all the techie world is buzzing about the
introduction of UHDTV, 4K or 8K. The top resolution being 16 times the pixel count of the current 1080 line HDTV.
So how will the new services be transmitted to the eager, waiting public? Certainly not on Freeview. There won`t be enough space
in the spectrum for UHDTV. Improved compression codecs can`t squeeze the proposed broadcasts into what`s left after the UK
government sold off a chunk of the frequencies for mobile use (3G, 4G whatever).
A typical lack of foresight and perhaps the result of leaving such decisions to politicians whose advisors tell them
what they wish to hear. ("You can get lots of revenue by selling off these unused tv frequencies, minister")
So you may be stuck with Virgin cable or Satellite as your options. I can`t see broadband telephone line based
delivery systems being able to squeeze UHDTV down copper wires to your house and direct to home optical fibre is a
long way off for most of us. Japan and China are expected to roll out services in 2013. I wonder if anybody is making
programmes yet in UHDTV?
No doubt the manufacturers will try to kid us that "upscaling" for lower definition formats will improve our viewing
pleasure. Will people really fall for that one again? If the detail isn`t there to begin with, you can`t re-instate it.
More info HERE
12th September 2012
PINKY AND THE BRAIN ON KIX
One of the best and, certainly, the funniest animated series to emerge from American TV is
Warners` Pinky and the Brain. Originally an occasional segment of the Animaniacs series, they got their own series
which ran for 4 tv seasons in the USA. You can get the series on DVD from the USA via Amazon but only as Region 1 discs and
somewhat expensive. Alternatively, watch for next to nothing on satellite tv in Europe, on the Kix! channel.
Not being shown at present (12th september) but will return, I hope, in the near future.
Freesat and Sky (Sky Guide 627 and Freesat 606) listed under Childrens` tv. Plenty of humour in there for adults which
is no doubt why it has been transmitted at 10.30pm. So far they haven`t shown episode 51 "Inherit the Wheeze" which won a PRISM
award for its anti-smoking message.
I don`t think they`ve shown episode 39 "Pinky Suavo" and "T.H.E.Y" so far, either. Don`t know why..More info HERE
Series episode list HEREand Kix tv webpage HERE
25th March 2012
ONLY A FEW DECADES TOO LATE
It may be somewhat late in coming but the proposed tax breaks or subsidies for the
animation industry in the UK must be good news. I don`t know what the details are yet but it may help bring back
some animation work to Britain after years of decline. I must admit to feeling astonished that it may happen at
all under a predominantly Conservative regime. We`ve had to watch our own industry decline whilst some other
European countries, notably France, carried on supporting their studios and as a result still have a vibrant,
prosperous animation scene. As for the rest of the 2012 budget, well, a lot of pensioners will lose out regarding
tax allowances. Smokers pay more, as usual, and a boost for tobacco smugglers. Vehicle Excise Duty up again,
in the war against motorists. No increase in fuel duty but the fuel price went up this week anyway.
(Perhaps the fuel companies think we`ll just automatically blame the budget? Sneaky.) In a seperate but related area,
there are plans to impose a minimum price per unit for alcohol bought in off licences and supermarkets.
Another measure that only hits the poorer section of society and not the rich. They also get a reduction in income
tax in the 2012 budget. Many don`t pay anywhere near as much tax as they should anyway due to exploiting "loopholes"
which are probably not there by accident.
A baby born in 2012 can look forward to retiring at age 80 according to the latest projections by HM Government.
I wonder what working tasks they`ll still be expected to perform at an age when many need help to wash or just to eat something?
Of course, the wealthy won`t be in that position themselves. How many millionaires in the cabinet of the current government?
Was it 20? 22?
10th October 2009
MAKING THE POOR
Last June Lord Carter of Barnes, the UK
communications Minister (and no doubt yet another wealthy individual who won`t
bat an eyelid at extra costs for his telephone service) proposed a new £6 a year
tax on users of fixed telephone lines in order to pay for the provision of fast
broadband internet access to those parts of the country who don`t yet have it,
particularly rural areas.
The main purpose of this expansion seems to be to
enable people to watch high definition tv, download movies and play videogames
with someone else half way round the world all via the internet. So you and I
are going to fork out extra money so some spotty youth in the countryside can
indulge his or her no doubt violent fantasies with online gaming whilst others
can clog up the internet with enormous hi-def tv data files, watching something
they could no doubt view on satellite or terrestrial digital tv instead. It`s
bad enough with all the spam emails clogging up the net.
Let`s not forget also that satellites can deliver
internet access as well (albeit at a premium, but then, if you will live in
Admittedly, 50p a month is not a huge amount of
money, but you need to look at it in context. The UK government has already
gotten rid of the 10p lower tax band. Fuel and beer taxes continually go up. The
public house trade has been virtually ruined by government taxes and the smoking
Some local councils are considering a Workplace
Parking Levy (a tax by any other name) where employees in companies with more
than ten parking spaces will have to pay to park. All imposed by yet more
wealthy local politicians who can easily pay more charges (but probably won`t
need to). This is to deter "unnecessary" car journeys. Is going to work an
"unnecessary" use of a car? The money collected would go towards better public
No doubt using flying pigs.
Another proposal is to tax car parking at
supermarkets and other retail outlets. Totally unavoidable charges for
businesses if it`s an out-of-town location. Those costs will end up on our
It makes you wonder how much more of this crap the
British public are going to put up with.
A recent edition of the Gadget Show on the Five tv channel here in the UK
featured a review of inexpensive High Definition video camcorders. The three
little devices were put through there paces in the usual irritatingly flashy
presentation style by one of the presenters creating a set of clips of the type
that get onto those tedious home video clip shows.
The Sanyo Xacti
model was eventually deemed the best buy for its
picture quality and ease of use. Mention was made at some point about the
ability of the cameras to shoot at 60 frames per second. Very impressive, you
might think, but if you go to the manufacturers` websites and look into the
specifications of these gadgets what you find is that a lot of them will only
work at 30 or 60 frames per second. Fine for the USA or Japan (where a lot of
these designs come from) but useless for Europe and many other parts of the
world where 25 or 50 frames per second is the tv standard. Even more puzzling is
that they do offer
a PAL tv output to your tv set, presumably converting the tv signal to PAL from
its NTSC origins within the camcorder.
These camcorders may be okay for uploading your
efforts onto YouTube but if you wanted to edit your video for use on a PAL standard
DVD you`ll be looking at an unsatisfactory conversion job in the editing
This type of technical ignorance, or indifference,
on the part of tv shows and computer magazines in the UK is unfortunately par
for the course.
Best Buy? Of an ill-informed choice.
VINTAGE POPEYE ON DVD
The second and third volumes of digitally restored
films from the 1930s and 1940s has now been released for Region 1 DVD
collectors. This second volume includes the classic short GOONLAND and some interesting
documentaries. The old cartoons look superb in their restored form if all you`ve
ever seen were battered old prints from the AAP distributors and public domain
copies. So far only available for Region 1 NTSC viewers but you can buy it from
Caiman of the USA through Amazon (uk site) for about £15 and it will only take a
week or so to arrive. Why bother with the old public domain copies when you can
see these beautifully restored versions?
To read an article about volume one of the
Popeye collection from the DVD Times website CLICK
Here`s a handy page for hacks to convert DVD
players/recorders to multi-region CLICK
8th January 2008
WINDOWS XP DRIVERS FOR A MUSTEK A3 EP
PARALLEL PORT SCANNER
Quite some time ago, in fact August 2000, I bought a
Mustek A3 parallel
port flatbed scanner the A3 EP model, thinking I would need to able to scan A3
size drawings for the animation work I was hoping to get. In the event the big
scanner has seen very little use and when I upgraded from Windows ME to Windows XP I found, of course, that
there were no XP drivers for parallel port scanners. My old Epson A4 scanner was redundant as
well (although it must be said that it was making squeaking noises and the lid
hinges had fractured, so it wasn`t going to last anyway)
So, for a long time, the Mustek has been languishing unused
in a cupboard. However! I recently found that Mustek have posted on their
downloads section a "fix" that enables you to install Windows 2000 drivers for the A3 EP
on an XP system. They even have a registry workround if you have any
difficulties with the installation.
So now I can use my old A3 scanner
To go to the Mustek download page CLICK