Stop-motion Animation

I am an Animation Enthusiasts,full of passion into how can make one animation by myself.So I spent a lot of time to think about my animation story and learn the technical skills such like using the Adobe After Effects Pro.Generally speaking,Stop-motion animation is relative with the animation technique. It is original from shooting technique so that it applied in film long time. Excellent products of stop-motion animation are pretty attractive.

From some research works, I deeply feel that if I want to produce a perfect work, the expression of detail and technique is the most important. The reason why I want to make a stop-motion animation is a lovely toy rabbit which was bought by my friend. Obviously, I like it very much. However, I always have an idea that I want to endow the rabbit life. Suddenly, when I pay attention to the stop-motion, the idea comes true.Firstly,I began shooting with a camera. But it was not simple as my original imagination. The process was formidable to me, because I forgot the most vital process: design a script and have a plan to execute it. When entered into the practice, I began feel the difficult one after another such as scene layout, light adjustment as well as the operation of the rabbit and so on. Other problems occurred, for example, my friend knocked over the tripod carelessly. We must start it again. When all of shootings finished, I began processing the photos with after effects software. Unfortunately, I found that the strength of afternoon wind and the light intensity were inappropriate. So faced these problems, I had to repeat it to coordinate the process again. From the above others’ work and my individual experience, I learned from many ideas, techniques and detail description to stop-motion animation. All of them are pretty essential and vital. The above analysis is my understanding and reflection about stop-motion animation through my personal experience.

I have some ideas about “Paper War” directed by Zhang zhe and Wang xulong from Communication University of China. Firstly, in the process of manufacturing process, many preparations must be done. The workload is heavy. Many prototypes and pictures are made and it is a tiring journey. Actually, these preparations are necessary to every films but the cost may be high in stop-motion animation. The following pictures are a part of process in preparation.

Graph 1: Pictures in preparation

Note: pictures in the process of preparation, they are used in film

Sources: “Paper War”, Communication University of China

In my opinion, the most significant part is not only in this part, because the design of a film is the key point. Obviously, the design and development of script is crucial to a stop-motion. The reason is that the following actions are origin from it. An excellent script is critical as following graph 2.

Graph 2: Scripts in preparation

Note: Script in “Paper War” and design process

Sources: “Paper War”, Communication University of China

Secondly, in the editing procedure, the production staff must consider some techniques. The shot transition is the way in which two of these individual shots are joined together (Bernard F., Dick, 2010). For instance, in “Paper War”, some skills of transition are applied. Stop motion has very rarely been shot in stereoscopic 3D throughout film history. However, there are some innovations in the film and show the transition from 2D to 3D. As following pictures, a role of the film is from 2D plane to the 3D space from a plane of wall to table lamp. Another role catches up with the front by paper airline. It is also from 2D to 3D. However, finally, the most interesting result is that they integrate in 2D space.

Graph 3: 2D -3D transition

Note: Scenes from 2D-3D

Sources: “Paper War”, Communication University of China

Another example, a stop-motion animation is directed by Weng jie and Sun wei: “The snow mountain temple”. In the film, many techniques are utilized such as atmosphere rendering, the use of light as well as focal length adjustment. In the first act, snow is drifting in the sky and a lonely person emerges. It renders an atmosphere of loneliness. It is difficult to describe this kind of scene in stop-motion animation, though it is simple in the general film. The use of light is another character in animation demonstrating the texture of picture. As following pictures graph 4 and graph 5.

Graph 4: Snowing scene                                                  Graph 5: The scene of entering

Note: Atmosphere rendering                                          Note: Use of light

Sources: “The snow mountain temple”                        Sources: “The snow mountain temple”

Meanwhile, the character of focal length adjustment is described vivid so that the emotion of the film expresses incisive. In the film, it conveys the feeling that the leading role cherishes the memory of time with wife. In fact, the technique of expression is common in general films. Nevertheless, it is rare in stop-motion animations.

Graph 6: The scene of memory

Note: Focal length adjustment

Sources: ‘The snow mountain temple’

In one word, many new forms are applied in the stop-motion animation and the content of animation is more affluent. Many techniques of expression are utilized in the stop-motion animation. I believe that it is valuable experience. In this process, ideas and design is most vital in my opinion. Then, the innovation applied in the film attracts eyes of audience. Without doubt, the execution and reflection are necessary to every one of us.

Reference

‘First animated film’, Guinness World Records, Retrieved 5 January 2013.

Bernard F., Dick, 2010, Anatomy of Film – Sixth Edition. Bedford/St.Martin’s. ISBN 978-0-312-48711-9.

Richard Leacock

I believe that every documentary has its own character in narrative technique. From the paper of Tobias, ‘I had been raised on my father’s plantation in The Canary Islands. We grow bananas, tomatoes, we made cement pipes and pumped irrigation water. Of the more than 200 men and women that worked there, I think about three could read and write (Tobias, M. (ed.), 1998)’. Particularly, we can change a perspective to treat this issue. When we shoot a documentary, we should consider the perspective from different angles.

For instance, if we want to make a film about plant including bananas, tomatoes, we should describe the scene from the perspective of plant that is from the plant itself. A simple example of documentary, ‘Kingdom of Plants’, it expresses the feeling of plant.

1

In my opinion, plants are the foundation of organic sphere. The wisdom of plant is far beyond the people’s intelligence and imagination. Combustion rock rose to expand their territory. Meanwhile, new 3D technology is becoming a significant part of the success. It reveals a whole new dimension in the lives of plants by using 3D time-lapse and pioneering techniques in 3D macro photography from beginning to the end.

2

Certainly, there are some comparisons which the documentary has provided. In documentary, we usually apply some methods to demonstrate the difference or change like comparative montage. At the beginning, the term of “montage sequence” has been used primarily by British and American studios, which refers to the common technique as outlined in this article (Reisz, Karel, 2010). It is significant to a film or a documentary that the sequence is how to arrange. It is mentioned in the paper of Tobias that ‘What am I looking for? I hope to be able to create sequences that when run together will present aspects of my perception of what took place in the presence of my camera. To capture spontaneity it must exist and everything you do is liable to destroy it – beware! Filming is searching for and capturing the ingredients with which to make sequences (Tobias, M. (ed.), 1998).’

3

4

Different sequences will construct different situation that describe different meanings to the audience.  The director casually shoots a few shots that he presumes will be used in the montage and the cutter grabs a few stock shots and walks down with them to the man who’s operating the optical printer and tells him to make some sort of mishmash out of it. He does, and that’s what’s labeled montage (Don Siegel, 1997). In cross montage, two cross cutting action occur at the same time in different space so that a tense atmosphere and a strong sense of rhythm shaped. In the micro film, ‘Awaiting’, which is directed by Jiang Digui in Korea, the cross montage is applied in it. The scene of a young woman and an old woman appeared in different time and space crossly profoundly expresses the time span.

Different ways can describe different scenes. Moreover, same scenes can express different meanings through different techniques like montage. Maybe it is the essence of film or documentary.

References

Tobias, M.(ed.), the search for reality: the art of documentary filmmaking, (p. 43-50), CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 1998.

Reisz, Karel, (2010), The Technique of Film Editing, Burlington, MA: Focal Press. ISBN 978-0-240-52185-5.

“Don Siegel,” Who the Devil Made It, Peter Bogdanovich, Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, p. 724-725. Interview made in 1968.

Richard Leacock