The Escape-Stop Frame

We received a rather interesting brief where we had to create a story, storyboard it, script it, make a photo montage and add our own recorded sounds to it. Naturally with my love for animation I decided to tackle the most difficult thing I could, stop frame animation. With basically no knowledge of stop frame animation techniques I began to plan what I would do, first beginning with a rough storyboard of what I saw in my mind. It would be a story of a piece of Prestik coming to life and Escaping the clutches of a human household.


I then drew up a rough script that allowed me to refine the story and iron out the kinks within the concept. Once the script was done I could start focusing on the actual details and I ran through the animation in my mind, making all the sounds that I believed would be associated within the animation. As a result, I ended up with a list of 53+ items that I needed to record and I set off with my sound recording equipment and recorded it into Adobe Audition.

I pulled the images together in Adobe After Effects after giving up on trying to use Photoshop to do so. I managed to export the video file into Adobe Premiere Pro and added in the sounds that were already in a correct order and numbered accordingly.

The result was a stop frame animation I am very proud of that is about 2:10 long, at about 2 frames per second with its own sounds recorded all by me.

Check out my new stop frame animation, The Escape, over here!

I hope you enjoy it!

A Bit of Film Noir…

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Just Some Notes on Film Noir…

Film Noir was a term coined by French film critics that noticed how dark downbeat and black the looks and themes were. Contrary to belief, film noir is not a genre but rather a mood, style, point of view and tone to a film. Film noir were melancholy, alienation, bleakness, disillusionment, disenchantment, pessimism, ambiguity, moral corruption, evil, guilt, desperation and paranoia.

Lighting: Make use of low key lighting as well as harsh lighting with emphasis on shadows .To get hard, crisp shadows, use a small intense light. Emphasize the difference between high and low key lighting. Use at least 500 watt lights to get solid crisp black and stark whites.

The venetian blinds setup is a famous and well used trick for many films. To achieve this effect place a 1K (any hard, intense light) through a window with the venetian blinds tilted slightly. This can be a great contrasting effect adding detail to your shot.

A foggy background can have add great effect to a silhouetted figure, especially when lit from the back. As the fog illuminates, it also simulates diffusion and casts an eerie glow as seen below from The Big Combo.

Shadowy figures are a big part of the film noir look and a well used technique even in modern times. Again, using intense lighting (1 or 2K), set up a series of lights that will be out of frame and slightly behind the actor so that the shadow is projected onto the wall behind.

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Storyboards and Film

Lesson 1:

Storyboarding is an important part in establishing any film, video, animation or even games. The idea is to portray the key points that feature in the film in a way that tells the story in all of its detail.

This includes the different filming angles and techniques to be used, a short written description of what is happening in the frame and basic or complex drawings or pictures that portray the frame.

Lesson 2:

Some important terms to remember….

Storyboard: A storyboard is an important phase in planning a story and refining an idea so that all consideration for necessary narrative and angles are ready for actually shooting.

Script: The written narrative of a play or film/story. It is the pre-planned copy of what will take place.

Draft Animatic: A preliminary animation of a story consisting of drawings or images of the key frames of the story.

Equipment/Prop List: The prop list is a record of all the required equipment in order to carry out the filming as intended in the script.

Wardrobe list: The list of wearable props that will fit with the narrative defined in the script and storyboard.

Production Schedule/ Timeline: The planned time for each section of preparation, filming and finalising that allows the project to be completed timeously. A sheet issued to cast and crew to show what times they are required to be on set.

An example storyboard I made…

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So, being completely new to blogging, it’s going to take me a while to get into the swing of this but I reckon it will be worth it! Stick around and let’s see how this goes…

Cape Town Musical Adventures…