|It fits in nicely with the brief of urban exploration|
Correct! An old stop motion animation I made back in secondary school; www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS245E…
For anyone interested, the software I used was Dragon Stopmotion, which is excellent for this as it has a nice ‘onion skin’ effect, so you can see the position your characters were in in the previous frame over your current frame. I got a distinction for it, and I remember feeling like the dog’s doo-dahs after I made it. In my eyes it was Oscar-worthy, but having watched it recently, I realise just how far off the mark I was. It was a bit kitschy and had potential, but there was a lot of work that needed doing on it, so here’s a quick list of what I’d do for improvement next time…
1. Scrap the speech bubbles
Or at least do them properly, like typed or something. Ultimately the speech was not on screen long enough to be readable, and certainly not in my scrawls. Believe it or not, that’s what my handwriting looks like neat
2. More folly
Spending some extra time on sound effects wouldn’t have killed me, and I’d have ended with a much richer product. As a whole, amateurs (myself being one of the most guilty) ignore the importance of sound design. Effective sound design can inform an audience above and beyond any image can if done correctly, part of the reason Danny Boyle’s films are so effective is because of his clever use of music and sound.
3. Pay attention to the light
This was partly not my fault because I was in a classroom full of people constantly moving about, but I couldn’t swear on a brownie’s honour that I wouldn’t have messed up light if left to my own devices. Consistency of light is of huge importance within stop motion more than any other field, it makes the atmosphere much more believable. The less an audience thinks about the process of making the film, the better. The new John Lewis advert is a beautiful example of this, and I was honestly blown away by the process of making it; vimeo.com/78836360
4. Fluidity of movement
Because no one moves as stiltedly as the characters in my film. It’s important to judge pace, and pay close attention to where actions are quick, and where they are slow. The quicker a movement, the more changes can be seen between each frame, the opposite being true of slower actions. Again it’s just another feature of believability, and one that Henry Selick captures wonderfully in both Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, but possibly my favourite example of fluid stop motion is Patrick Boyvin’s ‘Ninja’s Unboxing’; www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_ETSv…
Ultimately the most important point here, make a narrative that makes sense to an unspecified audience. Target audience is an entirely separate point here, what I’m talking about is the rookie mistake that I performed in basing a film off an inside joke that is not translatable to a general audience. Amongst my friends, the joke was about ‘Alan in my top pocket telling me to set fires’, as way of saying you were crazy. The narrative could have scope were it to be extended and explained, but in 30 this is just not feasible. Just because you know what story you’re telling, doesn’t mean others will, and this applies to every form of storytelling; novels, film, tv, advertisements.
These are the main points for improvement I’ve picked out amongst the whole host of missteps within that process, so provided I take these into account, I should get a much better product next time.