Stop-Motion isn’t as hard as I thought

In addition to today’s post, I have also learned that I’m horrible at keeping up with a blog.  Sorry.

At work we’ve been coming up with ideas for 15 second (silent) commercials to use on a new, upcoming video wall.  Some have been very difficult to storyboard because I am horrible at drawing figures.  Penguins I can draw, but not so much with the people.  Anyway, it seems my new approach to storyboarding is photographic animatics.  Basically, moving storyboards using photos (like moving paper dolls).  Also, I’m really the only one I can photograph, so the less people I need per concept, the easier it is to storyboard, but that makes it harder to advertise.

One of the ideas that the President of our company suggested was a sort of stop-motion video, that jumpy time-laps kind of thing.  Well, I tried some of that today with unwrapping a chocolate bar and I discovered that stop-motion isn’t as hard as I thought.  Now, granted, it’s harder than it looks, and you have to be patient as hell, but when you do it right, it looks damn cool!

One of the tricks is a motionless camera.  Tripod worked well for me, but I’ve seen them on C-stands before too.  Another is a slow and steady hand.  Now, I’ll be the first to tell you my drawing skills are not on par where they should be because my hand doesn’t like to draw steady.  However, that’s not what I mean when I say “a steady hand”.  For this, it’s moving one part of the object without moving another to create seamless motion.  Our eyes aren’t that sharp when it comes to movement which is rather handy when you’re trying to create a jumpy kind of video.  I could make large movements but hold them for more frames, yet it still goes fast enough that our eyes fill in the movement!

So bottom line to all this is that it seems those animation and motion graphics classes (not to mention copious amounts of special features from movies) have paid off.  When I showed my supervisor my finished sample (Note: This was a sample, not the finished product!) he only had one other comment besides “That looks so cool!” (which was to add something to the photos to make it more like what the final product would become)

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