Animation and Cartoons Wiki
Advertisement
Clutch cargo mystery in the northwoods frame

Syncro-Vox (sometimes spelled Synchro-Vox or Synco-VoX) is a filming method which combines static images with moving images, the most common use of which is to superimpose talking lips on a photograph of a celebrity or a cartoon drawing. It is one of the most extreme examples of the cost-cutting strategy of limited animation. The method was developed by American cameraman Edwin "Ted" Gillette in the 1950s in order to simulate talking animals in television commercials. Gillette filed the technique on February 4, 1952, and obtained patent #2,739,505 on March 27, 1956.

Because animating a mouth in synchronization with sound was difficult, Syncro-Vox was soon used as a cheap animation technique, most famously in the cartoons produced by Cambria Studios: Clutch Cargo, Space Angel, and Captain Fathom, in which actors' lips voicing the scripted dialogue were laid over the animated figures.

Syncho-Vox was phased out as a serious form of animation not from a lack of popularity during it's time but rather from the influx of better funded animation which caused the quality of these works to be less in comparison. It continued in the 60s and 70s to be used for commercial and 'trippy' animation segments (especially in the music industry) due to the odd factor of merging flesh and still images into a single form. Since the 90s Syncro-Vox is primarily used in comedic irony, for unnerving illustrations (in animated horror), or to produce parody humor regarding the animation. Examples include segments of the Looney Tunes and SpongeBob SquarePants. It was seen as an innovation during it's time but became associated with low budget animation akin to filming paper puppets. Which in competition with animation that actually animated lips made it less desirable for entertainment by the public.

Advertisement