Another short animation – this one just 36 seconds long but 100+ hours in the making. Seriously. I’m still plodding on with my Curtin BA (Fine Art) majoring in sculpture but squeezing in a bit of film whenever I think I can get away with it… The brief for this project was, in fact, stop motion animation so no squeezing required. Ahhh I’m my comfort zone. Unfortunately not. The difficulties were that it be around 30 seconds long and use really cruddy software… something that any student might have access to. I used Windows Movie Maker because if you have Windows – you have MM. It was a horror – regularly locking up and losing my work and only one “layer” each for audio and video. An NLE it ain’t! Fair enough – its not the software that makes the film – it simply makes it more or less difficult than it need be. What this meant in practical terms was a series of photos… no green screen, no layering, and no special effects.
To make it more interesting to make I tackled it as a “flat” animation rather than puppet and set (because I’d just finished my part of Hollow City Chronicles and wanted to try something completely different). I also wanted the ability to move the background as well as the “puppets” – which were in fact cut up photos – lots and lots of cut up photos…The solution was to break up an old a set of home-made shelves – replacing the timber with the pieces of glass I use when while raising seedlings. (Just borrowed them – no seedlings at this time of year here!) The camera was on the tripod which was gaffa taped to the top so it could look down through the glass. I used the EOS software that comes with the Canon 450D to remote control the camera.
This style of animation is “replacement animation” the image pieces themselves have no flexibility so to change them they have to be replaced with a new piece – very carefully, in the right spot, over and over again to get the effect of movement. Lots of fun but slow.
The other challenge with this was to create some sort of narrative in around 30 seconds. The end result is a mixed up fairy tale – which depends on the viewer recognising Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks (who doesn’t even appear), Snow White and the three bears. You are left to decide for yourself who or what is for lunch at the Teddy Bears Picnic. Its all a bit dark.
The bottom line is that forests are dangerous places. And bears are not to be trusted…