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Stop Motion Animation Essay

Persistence of vision is what some people think is the illusion, that your eyes create, that helps animation work. Your eye supposedly keeps a very brief (1/25th of a second) image, on its retina, of the last thing you looked at. However it has been disproved for over a 100 years - and ‘Beta Movement’ & the ‘Phi Phenomenon’ have since been proven to be more realistic explanations of how, and why, we appear to seemovement. Stop motion is an animation technique which makes a physically manipulated object appear to move on it’s own. The objects are moved in small increments between individual photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the frames are played back. When played back at the correct FPS,creates the illusion of smooth movement. The FPSis a very significant feature as it determines and affects the speed of the animation, resulting is a smooth or jumpy finish. FPSis the speed the animation plays at, with films being of 24 FPS.It is also related to the amount of pictures taken of the objects which also determines the FPSspeed, for example, the more pictures you take, the faster the FPScan be. Compared to Lotte Reiniger’s “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” (1920) the differences are quite significant with the production of this animation being of cut-out animation. The cut-outs are black silhouettes and the backgrounds consist of different colours ranging from blues to oranges and greens to yellows, emphasising the characters and the action taking place. This seemsmore like a cartoon stop motion, compared to ‘The Time Machine’ which mixes both real footage and Claymation. Reiniger’s piece has more of a solemn tone to it, contrasting to “The Cameraman’s Revenge” which is more comic. The dark, warm colours somewhat compliment this emphasising the tone of the piece. The black silhouette shapesare no only easy to see on the colourful backdrop, but due to the colour choice [black] it also suggest this ‘solemn’ tone. A very early example of stop motion animation is The Cameraman’s Revenge by Wladyslaw Starewicz. It was made in 1912 and for the time it was made is very state of the art and well developed. It is also quite smooth compared to other animations of that same time. The audience for the animation would have been Wealthy people who could afford to go to the cinema. Cinema was a new invention that poorer families wouldn’t have been able to go to. The camera used in the animation is static thought out the animation, but different background have been used to create different scenes. The FPSin the animation is roughly around 7-12. This gives an indication to why the animation might appear jumpy at times. However this is expected for such an early creation. The lighting in the animation is quite low key and dim and changescolours a huge amount. This is likely down to the film roll they used in the camera becoming expired. Wallace and Gromit is quite different to Bagpuss,with the most noticeable difference being in


the quality of the animation. Bagpussseemsquite jumpy which is fine compared to Wallace and Gromit . This is most probably down to the budget. Smallfilms which created bagpuss had a budget of £2,000for a series of 13 episodescompaired to Walace and Grommit who had a budget of £20,000,00.Another thing that effects the overall quality is the audience for Bagpussis for school children aged between 3-7 and would be watched on small tv sets. WhereasWallace and Gromit is aimed at a wider more mainstream audience children aged 5 to adults aged 40 and would be viewed in the cinema. ‘Bagpuss’ was a famous children’s television series, produced in 1974 but Peter Firmin. It consisted of a group of many different toys, which came alive in a shop. Only 13 episodes were ever made, but it is still very well known and remembered and has been reprised on UK television many times over. The programme would start with a sepia coloured screen with animation from the little girl who owned the shop, which would eventually turn into a normal coloured stop motion animation as the toys come alive. ‘Wallace and Gromit’, in contrast, was produced at a later date, in the 90’s by Nick Park. The protagonist Wallace and his anthropomorphic dog, Gromit, are the main attraction in the animation, with the events in their day-to-day life also being highlighted.

The main production of ‘Bagpuss’ was by using stop-frame animation. This would consist of every movement manipulated being done so in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of the objects moving when the frames are played back. Due to the technology used, [or lack of it], made the movement of the objects seemed somewhat static, perhaps due to the wrong FPS.However, the fluidity of the programme may have been the least important factor as in the 70’s the size of televisions were not as large as a modern 21st century one, thus making it quite difficult to seewhat was on it; so both factors somewhat complimented each other. ‘Wallace and Gromit’ on the other hand had a larger budget becauseit was introduced at a later time, where technology had improved; creators were able to experiment with more. The audience for both of these animations were children; however ‘Wallace and Gromit’ I feel had an older target audience than ‘Bagpuss’ just simply due to The second pixilation is peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer. A music video where the movement of the video is speeded up quite a bit and becauseof that I presume the FramesPer Second is at about 27FPS.The camera use is static apart from when the shot changes. The animation looks like it was filmed against a plain background and then replaced with animated video. Thesedays this would be done by using green screen. They used a lot of objects and models in the animation most of which are clay. And this therefore makes the animation a mix of all the animations. Becauseit’s a music video the sound in the animation is synced as the song he is singing. Stop motion has played a really important role in the development of film and invention of cinema. Film is basically stop motion imagery as it is a series of stills which appear to move with a quick frame rate (or quick speed) as it is played. However since the development of CGI, stop motion is very rarely used in mainstream films


except for Aardman’s and Wallace & Gromit. Stop motion animation is however still used in adverts and music videos and some short experimental films. For example The White Stripes ‘fell in love with a girl’ & ‘hardest button to button’, Doritos adverts and Kettle Chips adverts. Theseadverts are sometimes pretty basic, other times they are quite complex and have taken a long time to make. Stop motions are generally cheap and ‘easy’ although they take a long time to make which is why lots of people now opt for CGIand video. Despite this many people like the ‘Anolougue’ qualities of animatinon and this is a trend amongst many youngsters who are reliving the past. This is evident in the recent Stop Motion Music video by indie/pop band Rizzle Kicks. Their video is created by placing a series of still photographs and light drawings in a timeline. In conclusion we can see the important influence stop motion has had on the invention of cinema. It is safe to argue that film in many aspects, is just stop motion imagery (it consists of a series of stills which appear to move due to the consistent frame rate [speed] it is played at). However, since the development of CGI, stop motion is rarely used in mainstream films, however you can still see it used in many Aardman Animations films such as ‘Wallace and Gromit’ or ‘Chicken Run’. Stop motion is however still used in advertising and music videos, whether it is extreme or sparse, for example, B.O.B– ‘Nothing on You’ video demonstrates a pixilation/cut out style narration of a love story; and this was a mainstream music video. Although stop motion pictures are appealing on the eye, they are sometimes very basic and do not cost a lot to make (but they are very time consuming to produce, so you would think it would cost a great amount to create.


Stop Motion Animation Essay