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Pre-1975

In the early '70s, you knew the time, effort, talent and financial commitment required if your art was animation. 

LP records were the de facto audio standard, 8-track tapes were being replaced by audio cassettes, 16mm film was used for animation, and Betamax video had just arrived on the scene... 

In Laguna Beach, CA, an animator started thinking about a way to produce pencil tests from paradise, to avoid the headache of driving to Los Angeles to get them produced there.

Lyon Lamb Video Animation System- The heart of the VAS, a 1/2 inch reel-to-reel video tape recorder

Lyon Lamb Video Animation System- The heart of the VAS, a 1/2 inch reel-to-reel video tape recorder

1976

In 1976, Lyon Lamb debuted the Lyon Lamb Video Animation System (VAS). A single frame 1/2" reel-to-reel video recorder with the unique capability to play back at film speed (24 fps).

Before the VAS, the pencil test was an expensive and arduous affair that required three to five days to shoot, process and develop. The finished pencil test would then be returned to the studio, threaded up on a 16mm projector and viewed.

With the Lyon Lamb VAS, viewing a pencil test was instantaneous, saving precious time, resources and ultimately improving the quality of animation.

 

William Shatner and Cloris Leachman present the Oscar to Lyon Lamb

William Shatner and Cloris Leachman present the Oscar to Lyon Lamb

The Nod

In 1980, after unprecedented press and industry buzz from the likes of Walt Disney Productions, Hanna Barbera, Ralph Bakshi, Walt Disney's California Institute of the Arts and Industrial Light and Magic, to name a few, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Bruce Lyon and John Lamb an Academy Award in the Scientific and Technical Achievement category for the VAS technology.

2015 represents the 35th anniversary of Lyon Lamb's greatest achievement, the Academy Award, which also signified a beginning in the industry shift from analog to digital technology. 

Lyon Lamb utilized on the Oxberry at Hanna Barbera - 1977

Lyon Lamb utilized on the Oxberry at Hanna Barbera - 1977