Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New 'MONSTER' Project

I am just starting work on my first 'proper' stop-motion animation project (the first two shorts were really just glorified tests). The plan is to enter it into a Toronto based animation competition. Yes, I know I'm not Canadian, but the competition is open to all, and all the selected shorts will be edited together and shown at the summer animation showcase at the National Film Board cinema in Toronto, which sounds terribly impressive. Thankyou to Grant Dix who told me about this competition - he's a Canadian animator and you can see his work here: http://grantsanimation.blogspot.com/

The brief is to create a 10 second animated short which features monsters in some way (ha ha, this brief could have been written for me!). I'll have to shoot it at 30fps, which is what video runs at in Canada. I've not decided whether to shoot on ones or twos yet. 30fps seems like a ridiculous amount and will call for such tiny movements... I might do some tests to see which feels and looks better.

I have a story worked out. Well it isn't really a story, more of a 'build-up followed by punchline', but I can't really do much more than that in 10 seconds! The gag is slightly ripped off from Monsters Inc. and any number of children's books, but I suppose nothing is ever truly original.

I need to build the set, some trees, one human puppet, one big woolly monster puppet, one basic flying rig and possibly a simple dolly set-up if I have time. Then I need to shoot it, edit it and send it to Canada. All in less than two months... argh!

Oh yes, I bought a camcorder! A Panasonic NV-GS330, which is supposed to be about the best camcorder for under £400. I spent the cash that was supposed to be going into my 'postgraduate study' fund, but as my Mum pointed out, I'll never even get on a postgrad course if I keep shooting with a terrible camera!


Grant's Animation said...

Hey Ceri,

Thanks for the blurb! Now that it's been posted on your blog the floodgates have been opened and TAIS is going to be flooded with submissions! Check out their blog periodically for any news. They have a link to a stop-mo version of "Tron " I just noticed. It's really cool.


Woolly Monster said...

I wish where I live had something like TAIS. Seems daft that Manchester is the stop-motion capital of the UK (and maybe even Europe), yet doesn't celebrate this fact in any way.
Stop-mo Tron? That sounds great!

ryan said...

You should shoot it on 1's because then it will look more detailed and as its ten seconds you can take your time shooting it, you will probably have more chance of getting in if you shoot on 1's compared to 2's. My film didnt get into the co-op award for young people because it was on 2's

Hope it helps

Kind Regards


Grant's Animation said...

Ryan has a point. Shooting on two's is a way of expediting the animation process. You reach your time goal faster but the result is more cartoony though perfectly acceptable in some cases. Aardman shoots on two's. But since we're dealing with a strict time limit (10 sec.) or 300 frames if you shoot on two's be aware that you will reach that limit (or frame limit) faster and find you haven't got to the punchline yet. Just something to keep in mind.

Woolly Monster said...

Good point. 300 frames is not much at all.
Thanks for the advice :)

Grant's Animation said...

IMO it should be at least 15 seconds.
Hey Check out this blog:


and scroll down to "Watch Critter Song."

I just came across this animator-really good stuff!

Anonymous said...

I find it completely ridiculous that someone's animation didn't make into a program because it was shot on 2's.

I would like to see this video in question.

As far as not getting to the punchline because you used up all your frames and reached the time limit- plan out everything on X-sheets or use audio scrub in your framegrabber if it has sound on it, and you won't have that problem. Even MonkeyJam can be used to plan audio. It has a bar next to every frame you capture in the X Sheet screen.

Good luck, and again, I would like to see your film, Arnymate. I seriously doubt shooting on 2's had anything to do with why it didn't get accepted. If you show it to me, maybe I can figure out what it was and help you improve it so you can get in next time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ceri, if you're still not sure whether to shoot on 1's or 2's, have a look at the latest post on my blog. It deals with the advantages of shooting 1's or 2's at 30fps.

One thing you can do to reduce your work load (Robot Chicken does this) is to mix 1's and 2's- ease in and out on 2's, with the inbetweens on 1's. It really smoothes out the animation. Of course, if you want, you can animate 2's all the way... That's up to you. Dialog is better on 1's, though.