Stop in Motion.

Most of my weekends recently are spent on stop motion. The Memorial Day weekend was no exception. My buddies (including never resting, exceptionally prolific Bill Plympton) went to beach to catch some sun and wind but I went to work. My studio has plenty of sun and Atlantic Ocean winds if I open my windows. On beaches one can catch skin cancer, I better catch up with work.

One of the film’s characters, the one who went into the maze of education to never find the exit, had a problem with her heart. Her parents lavished her with attention and gifts but didn’t set an example of how to love, because they never loved each other. Being beautiful and smart it was easy for Linda to succeed for a while, but in the place of heart something was missing.

I wanted to illustrate her problem visually, maybe with an over the board image, but here it is, 1 frame per image with a little glitch of my hand with a ruler (rulers come in handy with stop motion but one has to keep them away from a shooting camera):

The small hearts slide through the bigger-than-life hole in her chest, never staying, not even touching the edges of the hole. But something was not quite working for me here. I wanted the hearts pause a tiny bit near the hole as if considering to stay and then moving on. At least I thought that was what I was going for when animating it. Then I realized that all my drawn animation is mostly 4 – 2 frames per drawing. As an animator I think on 4’s. That must also reflect on my stop motion animation. So I composited the pictures on 2’s and took out the hand with the ruler:

Now the animation became more choppy, but hearts did their little pauses in front of the hole. Do I go back to 1’s to smooth the animation or I stay with 2’s? Or, do I reshoot? It is hard to keep the hearts from jiggling on the thin red thread. They rotate slightly and they bounce up and down. Stop motion can be like hoarding horse flies. Sometimes.

Then there was a hat. Linda wanted to have a boyfriend, a man with a hat, but instead she got to exercise her brain to her doom. Here’s an animated image to illustrate that:

The hat rotates on 1’s and then it slides off, of course, on 2’s. We are going to reshoot this on next available weekend, as there is a slight glitch on the footage that we are hoping to fix in a reshoot. If you look carefully, you’ll see that at some point the images get darker (and brighter) for a few seconds and then they change back. We think it is the doing of the  lens – SLR attached to a digital camera apparently never goes completely manual. It decides to adjust images according to changing light. When the hat comes closer to the camera, the light changes slightly and camera adjusts the image the way it thinks it should be. It is obvious that a person who invented this “intelligent” machine never worked with stop motion animation.

The way I think to fix it it to place the camera further away from the hat or from  the light.

The other way it would be getting an old 35 mm camera lens, get an adapter and then connected it to my digital Nikon D80.

A spoke in my stop motion wheels.

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About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
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