I have been an avid fan of photography ever since picking up my first camera that most likely didn’t even work at all. So I might owe a lifetime of snapping shots to Fisher Price but as I say, always earlier than later. I like photography because of its flexibility. A photograph can be about imagery, emotion, narrative and much more but while a single photograph can pack its own narrative punch, films have time at their advantage.
When am I really impressed? Stop motion animation.
A stop motion movie can be made out of a variety of mediums from clay to physical objects that are moved from frame to frame. The objects themselves do not move but combining the frames creates the illusion of movement. This provides a more realistic effect for animated films and is edgier and more deconstructed when used instead of more seamless techniques. I am a huge fan Nick Park’s work with Wallace and Gromit as well as Chicken Run. The characters have a sense of realism to them while still looking constructed as though a perfect compromise between film capturing and artistic creation. One of my favorite books in elementary school was Coraline, so I was incredibly excited to see the updated use of stop motion clay animation in the film. It is as though someone found a loophole to the stillness of photography as a medium. Stop motion was even used on an episode of Community for their Christmas episode. How cool is it to see your favorite real life characters in clay cartoon versions!
So while most movies are not made this way I say we should see more of it. I have included a video of my favorite YouTube stop motion. It is called “Sweet Dreams” and it received a Special Jury Award as SXSW in 2009. It is the work of Kirsten Lepore and is a perfect stop motion that combines awesome edible sets with walking cupcakes and squash! Please check it out. I have also have linked a behind the scenes video featuring Danny Pudi from Community talking about the making of their special Christmas episode.
So what are you waiting for? All you need is a camera to make a short but sweet stop motion of your own.