GIUSEPPE: Hello, my name is David Snugglepuff and welcome to
your favourite show for animated Related Topics!
Firstly before we start, I would like to talk about the
importance of persistence of vision. Persistence of vision is
when your brain remembers an image for a fraction of a second
longer than the image is there. Have a look at this video for
an example
Video Plays
GIUSEPPE: The outcome of this is that the images you see in
front of you flow together to give the impression of movement,
which is effectively how film works. This is a very important
concept to understand in animation as stop motion is a series
of pictures or photographs which are aimed to flow together to
look as though they are moving.
Back to studio
GIUSEPPE: An example of persistence of vision is that when you
shake a pencil between your fingers.
Picks up pen and wobbles it.
As you can see, rather than seeing the object move up and
down, you can see the path where the object has been as well
as where it was a fraction of a second ago. This is because
the image stays in your brain and overlaps the new image of
the object. Now wasn’t that fun?
We have a few experts on the show today, so let me introduce a
young lady who’s worked in the stop motion industry for around
12 years! Please welcome ZARA LANE
Audience applauds, Zara come on set and shakes hand then sits
ZARA: Today I am going to be talking about stop frame, or stop
motion. Stop frame is one method of creating an animation, the
definition of animation is making an inanimate object or
objects animate. But this particular way of doing it is
extremely time consuming but can be very effective. Stop
motion is a series of pictures shown one after the other at
rapid succession because of persistence of vision, as my
friend David Snugglepuff just explained to you, the pictures
appear to flow into one moving image. A good tip to make the
image flow well and look better without jumping, is to make
sure that the pictures are all in the correct order.
GIUSEPPE: Ahh yes, this reminds of my Belgium physicist chum
called Joseph Plateau. He invented a device called the
‘Phenakistocope’, using this he was the first person the
demonstrate the illusion of a moving image. The way it worked
was by using a set of sequential images placed around the edge
of a disk, which when span, caused the images to rapidly
change giving the illusion they were moving.
JOE: Frame rates, also known as frame frequency, controls the
smoothness of a film, the more ‘frames’ used per second, the
better the picture will flow. For stop motion animation, each
frame represents one picture. On average 24 frames are used
per second, but animation could use much more
CHARLES: Armatures can help aid the movement of models by
giving support throughout the whole body. This is essentially
a skeleton which you build around. If you look at the photo,
the armature contains 2 propoxys which are massive joints
which help aid the hip rotation and the chest rotations. For
the arms there is a long thin twisted wire which you can bend
in any direction. At the end of the arm there is another
propoxy for the balls of your hand meaning you can extend and
clench into a fist. Armatures are a great way to start
creating characters because they are very easy to build
around. They are quite cheap to buy, however if you want to
make a very high detailed model you can buy pro armatures and
expensive material to use
GIUSEPPE: This brings me to our next chap William Horner.
William horner has been a lot in his time, he was a British
Mathematician, headmaster , school teacher and expert PingPong player. He made a lot of inventions, however his most
famous one is called a ZOETROPE.A zoetrope is a devise that
produces the illusion of rapid succession in still pictures.
You stick a piece of paper into the device with a small change
in the next photo. When you spin it, it looks the image is
moving. This is because of our Persistence of vision.
ZARA: The praxinoscope was the successor to the zoetrope. It
was invented in France in 1877 by Charles-Émile Reynaud. Like
the zoetrope, it used a strip of pictures placed around the
inner surface of a spinning cylinder. The praxinoscope
improved on the zoetrope by replacing its narrow viewing slits
with an inner circle of mirrors, placed so that the
reflections of the pictures appeared more or less stationary
in position as the wheel turned. Someone looking in the
mirrors would therefore see a rapid succession of images
producing the illusion of motion, with a brighter and less
distorted picture than the zoetrope offered.
After the praxinoscope, animation improved massively thanks to
an English photographer, called Eadward James Muybridge, known
worldwide for his famous ‘running horse’ photographs.
Muybridge originally took his famous photographs of the
running horse for a bet to see if all of a horses feet left
the ground at one time. He got his results by setting up a
series of trip wires there to set of 12 cameras as the horse
went past them. The result showed that the horse did have all
four hooves off of the ground at one time
JOE: Who is Thomas Edison?
Thomas Alva Edison did a lot of things in his time including
an inventor, scientist and a businessman his devices made
massive impact on life around the world.
What is Thomas Edison Famous for?
Edison invented the Phonograph, the motion picture camera and
the long-lasting practical electric light bulb. As we know
what a light bulb is and this isntr a show about bulbs we’ll
skip that. He was also the inventor of the Kinetoscope a
device used in stop motion animation.
The Kinetoscope is an early motion picture device, but most
definitely not a movie projector. It was designed for films to
be viewed individually through the window of a cabinet. This
invention was the basic introduction that would become the
standard for all cinematic projection before video. Watching
it creates the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of
film bearing images over a light source with a high speed
It wasn’t very practical though as only one person could view
the invention at a time and the moving image shown only lasted
about 5-10 seconds long. It was also a pain in the arse to
move about as it was a 4 foot long box.
GIUSEPPE: Our next guests have come all the way from France,
please welcome to the studio, the Lumiere brothers!
JOE AND CHARLES: We are considered to be the first filmmakers;
our first film, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in
1894, is considered the first real motion picture in history.
It was a short clip of workers leaving a factory. At this
time film was purely used to document moments in history.
CHARLES_ (George Pal)
GIUSEPPE: Thank you Lumiere brothers! Now I am going to talk
to you about Willis Harold O'Brien, my American buddy.
Willis O’Brien was born in November 196 and was an American
motion picture special effects and stop-motion animation
pioneer, who according to ASIFA-Hollywood "was responsible for
some of the best-known images in cinema history,” He is best
remembered for his work on The Lost World (1925), King Kong
(1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949), for which he won the 1950
Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
Now please welcome back to the studio, our expert on stop
motion- Zara Lane, to talk about Ray Harryhausen.
ZARA: Ray Harryhausen was a stop motion animation expert and
filmmaker popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s. He was best known
for his amazing stop motion creatures in his videos.
Jason and the Argonauts is a 1963 Columbia Pictures fantasy
Greek Mythology feature film directed by Don Chaffey in
collaboration with Ray Harryhausen, the film is known for its
stop-motion creatures, and particularly the iconic fight with
the skeletons.
GIUSEPPE: (Holds earpiece) Yes and I believe we actually have
some footage of this scene…
Video plays
GIUSEPPE: Thank you Zara, I’m sure you’ll be back later with
some more interesting facts for us all. Now please put your
hands together for Mr Pringle Stacey!
CHARLES: Jan Svankmajer is a Czech filmmaker who is best known
for his work in animation. Svankmajer has grew a reputation
over several decades for his unique use of stop-motion
technique, and his ability to make surreal, frightening, and
yet somehow funny pictures.
One of Jan’s most famous pieces of work is a fantasy film
called ‘Alice’ in 1988 which is Jan’s adaptation of Lewis
Carroll's first Alice book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
which was made in 1865, this film combines live action with
stop motion animation
GIUSEPPE: Very informative Charles, I’m sure our viewers at
home thoroughly enjoyed that, do you have any more amazing
tales for us?
CHARLES: Actually yes I do Mr Snugglepuff, Charlotte "Lotte"
Reiniger was a German film director and the foremost pioneer
of silhouette animation, anticipating Walt Disney by over ten
years. Reiniger made over 40 films over her career, all using
her invention. Her most well-known films are The Adventures of
Prince Achmed (1926) and The Magic Flute, featuring music by
Mozart. The Adventures of Prince Achmed is the oldest
surviving animated feature film; two earlier ones were made in
Argentina by Quirino Cristiani, but they are considered lost.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed features a silhouette
animation technique Reiniger had invented which involved
manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of
lead under a camera
GIUSEPPE: wow… mindblowing. Okay thank you Mr Pringle Stacey.
Now I believe we have another set of brothers on the show
today for you… please give a warm welcome to- The brothers
(Puts hand to earpiece again)
OH, Unfortunately only one of the brothers is actually
available today… one of the brothers Quay…!
JOE: The Quay Brothers having moved to England in 1969 to
study at the Royal College of Art, London after studying
illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art. In England
they made their first short films, which no longer exist after
the only print was damaged beyond repair. They spent some time
in the Netherlands in the 1970s and then returned to England
where they teamed up with another Royal College student, Keith
Griffiths, who produced all of their films. In 1980 the trio
formed Koninck Studios, which is currently based in Southwark,
south London.
Most of their animation films feature puppets made of doll
parts and other organic and inorganic materials, often
partially disassembled, in a dark, moody atmosphere. Perhaps
their best known work is Street of Crocodiles, based on the
short novel of the same name by the Polish author and artist
Bruno Schulz. They have made two feature-length live action
films: Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human
Life and The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes. They also directed an
animated sequence in the film Frida.
GIESEPPE: So now we have discussed the pioneers and developers
of animation, how about we bring back our favourite experts to
talk about Tim Burton! Please welcome once again, Zara and
ZARA: Tim Burtons first stop motion animation was called
"Stalk of the Celery Monster, which he created in 1979. The
film attracted the attention of Walt Disney Productions'
animation department, which offered Burton an animator's
apprenticeship at the studio. He worked as an animator,
storyboard artist and concept artist on films such as The Fox
and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and Tron. However, Burton's
personal style clashed with Disney's standards.
JOE: The Nightmare Before Christmas was made in 1993, and is
another stop motion. The musical fantasy film was directed by
Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. It tells
the story of Jack Skellington, from "Halloween Town, who opens
a portal to "Christmas Town" and decides to celebrate the
James and the Giant Peach is a 1996 British-American musical
fantasy film directed by Henry Selick, based on the 1961 novel
of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was produced by Tim Burton
and Denise Di Novi. The film is a combination of live action
and stop-motion animation. The film begins with normal liveaction for the first 20 minutes, but becomes stop-motion
animation after James enters the peach, and then live-action
when James enters New York City, New York (although the
mutated insect characters remained in stop-motion).
ZARA: Selick had originally planned for James to be a real
actor through the entire film, then later considered doing the
whole film in stop-motion, but ultimately settled on doing
entirely live-action and entirely stop-motion sequences
because of costs. Corpse Bride was directed by Mike Johnson
and Tim Burton in 2005. The plot is set in a fictional
Victorian era village in Europe. Johnny Depp led an all-star
cast as the voice of Victor, while Helena Bonham Carter voiced
Emily, the title character. Corpse Bride is the third stopmotion feature film produced by Burton and the first directed
by him (the previous two films, The Nightmare Before Christmas
and James and the Giant Peach, were directed by Henry Selick).
GIUSEPPE: Fascinating… Okay now on the show I’d like to get
rid of this Joseph Walley and I will be discussing the famous
Aardman animations with Zara. Goodbye Joe!
ZARA: Aardman Animations is a British animation studio based
in Bristol, United Kingdom; and is well known as the biggest
and most successful animation company in the world. The studio
is known for films made using stop-motion clay animation
techniques, particularly those featuring plasticine characters
Wallace and Gromit. It entered the computer animation market
with Flushed Away.
GIUSEPPE: In December 1997, Aardman and DreamWorks announced
that their companies were teaming up to co-finance and
distribute Chicken Run, Aardman's first feature film, which
had already been in pre-production for a year. On 27 October
1999, Aardman and DreamWorks signed a $250 million deal to
make an additional four films in an estimated next 12 years.
On 23 June 2000, Chicken Run was released to a great critical
and financial success. In the year 2000 Ardman animations
created there first feature length animated film called
Chicken run. Funded by dream works , this film stomped in a
whopping $220m at the box office.
In 2005 , one again being funded by dream works they released
another feature length film and about the duo wallece and
gromit. They smashed the box office one again rakeing in $305m
as well as multiple awards worldwide.
ZARA: In 2005, after ten years of absence, Wallace and Gromit
returned in Academy Award-winning Wallace & Gromit: The Curse
of the Were-Rabbit. Next year followed Flushed Away, Aardman's
first computer-animated feature.
GIUSEPPE: Thank you Zara, I am now going to give you another
fun fact! Michael Please was born 1984. He is a BAFTA-winning
English animator who worked with paper. There you are. Now
Finally please put your hands together one last time, for Mr
Pringle Stacey…
CHARLES: Timothy Reckart is an American director who specifies
in animation for puppet stop motion based in New York.
Timothy is best known for his 2012 film ‘Head Over Heels’
which was nominated for the Academy Award for best animated
short film in 2013. The film, which centres on the troubled
marriage between a woman who lives on the ceiling and her
husband who lives on the floor.
Timothy has also worked on other short animation films such as
Leftovers, a story of unrequited love between an old man who
wants a friend and a squirrel who wants a sandwich.
Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly is an Irish film producer based in
London, Fodhla is also the co-founder of The Sixty Six Picture
Club, an independent film production company founded in 2012
Fodhla was nominated for an Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards
(2013) and won the Cartoon d’or (2013) for her short animated
film Head Over Heels. Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly made the film
‘Head Over Heels’ with director Timothy Reckart while they
were students at the National Film and Television School in
Fodhla started her career as a special effects trainee for
Team FX in Ireland. She spent her teenage years learning about
pyrotechnics and atmospherics. While studying for her BA in
Film & Video Production from the University of West London,
Fodhla worked for The Allotment production managing a series
of corporate and viral films.