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How Have you Been?

Uploaded to Vimeo by Heather Colbert.

“Hypnos is a solitary creature, creating happier dreams while people sleep, but there is something else living in his cave…”

The official music video for Tom Rosenthal’s for ‘How Have You Been?’ is a another stop-motion masterpiece by director Heather Colbert.

Colbert is an animator specializing in stop motion and drawn animation. Her widely acclaimed music videos for musicians Mark Nevin and Tom Rosenthal have been featured on Directors Notes, Dezeen, BOOOOOOOM, ZippyFrames and Dragonframe and screened at film festivals such as Montreal Stop Motion Festival and Fantoche in Switzerland.

 Colbert works out the ideas of her characters through sketchbook doodles and more polished character paintings.

Colbert works out the ideas of her characters through sketchbook doodles and more polished character paintings.

Colbert’s latest film is a beautiful and moving fusion of stop motion and drawn animation about looking after all parts of oneself.  She provides a glimpse into her inspiration when she writes on heather-colbert.com that “Hypnos lives in fear of what he cannot see, but through tentative steps he realizes the shape in the darkness is just trying to help him, and the two characters gradually accept each other and comfort one another.”

“This story can be read as two beings finding each other,” she adds. “And also as a depiction of anxiety and depression, where the protagonist learns to accept and look with compassion at all sides of themselves.  

Colbert has turned a lifelong fascination into a successful career as an illustrator and animator. In an interview with Animated Women UK Colbert says, “I had always been fascinated by the unique charm that comes from the real light and textures in stop motion, growing up on all the programs made by Small Films. But through university and since graduating, it has been a gradual realization that I could be someone who makes films this way too.”

 When the wire skeleton of Hypnos broke at the knees near the end of the shoot, Colbert had to make a replica to finish the final scenes.

When the wire skeleton of Hypnos broke at the knees near the end of the shoot, Colbert had to make a replica to finish the final scenes.

Today, Colbert has been featured on the website Great Women Animators and was named one of eight female filmmakers to watch by the American Stop Motion Magazine. So when she generously provides a fascinating and thorough look behind-the-scenes at her work on ‘How Have You Been’ at Hangar Animation Studios in Bristol, UK…it’s wise to take an opportunity to check it out.

You can see step-by-step how Colbert does her character design, storyboarding, character development, puppet making and shooting with an abundance of pictures and notes.

‘How Have You Been’ is Colbert’s second Vimeo Staff Pick following the stop-motion music video for Nevin’s ‘Dolly Said No To Elvis’.

Stop Motion Magazine calls ‘How Have You Been’ a beautiful work of art and declares Colbert “a talent who has brought a blend of digital painting, hand drawn animation and stop motion together to produce a story that brings us into a fantasy world filled with mystery, shadow, and light.”

Kudos to Colbert for lifting the curtain on the mystery a bit and opening up her world to other artists.

Brett HughesComment
When the lights Are Low

Uploaded to Vimeo by Tom Roppelt

Tom Roppelt is a singer, songwriter, independent musician…and stop-motion animator. In addition to writing, performing and recording his new song “When the Lights Are Low,” Roppelt recently wrapped production on a stop-motion music video for the track.

“I wanted to create a video that followed the theme of the song, without being too literal,” said Roppelt. “Essentially, it is about how our imagination has the ability to manifest different identities (and) how our minds can wander into being someone we wouldn't normally be or doing things we wouldn't normally do.”

Once the song was finished, the video took about a year to complete.  Roppelt first developed a storyboard for each shot.  His wife, Johanna, assisted with props and backgrounds. “After rummaging through several antique shops, (we) made any of the props or backgrounds we were unable to locate,” said Tom.  “For example, after scrolling through pages of old Chevy radios, we recreated the image using various craft materials.”  

One of the most difficult shots was the perspective shot of the two characters driving. “(That) was tricky to pull off, however I am pleased with how it came out,” said Roppelt.

The video was produced using Vegas Movie Studio Platinum.  Each photo was individually edited to create the 16:9 aspect ratio.

We’ll keep an eye on the Roppelt’s future stop-motion work here on the Planet. In the meantime, look for Tom in the Boston band The Daily Pravda. The group’s next full length album is set for release in the spring of 2019.

Brett HughesComment
Hi Five the Cactus

Uploaded by YouTuber Nobody is Watching the Children

Released in 2018, Hi Five the Cactus is billed as "The World's First Stop-Frame Animated Western." Directed and Animated by Chris Thomas, Hi Five is inspired by a song written by a former folk band in Philly called the Extraordinaires. Thomas expanded the story of the song into a five-act stop-frame animation that contains contains 12,984 individual frames.

Thomas is a self-taught animator from West Virginia. He says he “mistakenly ended up in Philadelphia after dropping out of Temple University and found shelter in an old-warehouse that had no windows to the outside world.” It was here where he animated his first film, Hi-Five the Cactus.

The puppets are generally all wire and epoxy armatures with fabric bodies and clay faces and extremities.  The background started as a painted backdrop and eventually evolved into a digital projection.  “I preferred the projection over the painting,” said Thomas. “I learned I could transform the set easier and actually composite the vultures in the background and shoot them in sequence to the animation.”  

The lightning strike, however, was actually sculpted.  For this Thomas wrapped a stick with tinfoil and moved a couple spotlights around to achieve the effect.  “The nearby storm cloud was actually glued to a sheet of plexiglass which hid most of the lighting rigs,” added Thomas.

When asked about the incredible camera movements throughout the film, Thomas eagerly noted, “I feel as though animating the camera is almost as important as animating the characters.  I want to feel like I am the same size as the puppet or I am actually moving with the puppets while I'm watching the animation.  This to me, is most exciting!”

The camera movements were all created with a couple rigs modified by Thomas over the years.  “One was a lighting boom which I mounted to a tripod head to and the other was a linear slide that also had a connecting tripod head.  The ‘hand-held’ scene inside the shack before Hi-Five returns was shot on the linear slide by pivoting the camera head the opposite direction I moved the camera.  I suppose its the same concept as the ‘vertigo-shot’ just on a pivot.  For the POV scene where the cowboy pulls his revolver out and points it at Hi-Five, I actually zip-tied two really long puppet arms to the camera.”

Thomas’ debut production is a must-watch. Story written by Jay Purdy. Original score by Crooked Tooth and the Story Tellers. Winner of 4 Awards, 7 nominations and + 30 Festival screenings (5 international)…so far. Learn more at hifivethecactus.com.

Scott CulpepperComment
Submit Your Entry to the Neum Animated Film Festival

Neum, a town on the Adriatic Sea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is hosting its 14th edition of the Neum Animated Film Festival, or NEFF, from June 29 through July 5, 2019.

StopMotionPlanet encourages animators and students from around the globe to take advantage of this opportunity to submit up to three films for consideration. The deadline for submission is April 15, 2019. Films must be produced after January 1, 2016. Visit the NAFF website for more information or view the entry form and rules here. Be sure to let us know if your film is selected for projection and/or recognition!

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Scott CulpepperComment
Anteloper - Summertime

Uploaded by YouTuber Anteloper

This mesmerizing music video for Summertime by Anteloper was made by artists Jill Frost and Phil Lewis. They were interested in using nature in a surrealistic way to express the human emotions suggested by the Summertime lyrics. 

The film is comprised of approximately 1500 individual frames and took about 60 hours to make. Frost and Lewis used simple paper cutouts and filmed with an iPad using a homemade rig hooked up to a selfie-stick clicker to take shots remotely.   

See more work by Jill Frost here: www.jillfrost.online.

Check out the newly-released Anteloper debut self-titled EP at www.anteloperband.com/listen.

Scott CulpepperComment
Zey The Mouse • Episode 5

Uploaded by YouTuber Ian Harding

Ian Harding is back with a brand new episode of his stop-motion animation series Zey The Mouse. 

Harding's trademark beautifully-crafted sets and props provide a whimsical backdrop for 'Who's Playing The Game,' a sci-fi fantasy animation in which something amazing happens to Zey and his pal Dylan when they go to buy a new computer game. 

Scott CulpepperComment
AWAY (music video)

Uploaded by YouTuber The Disused Yeti

Artist Tim Matthews' work embodies the joy of stop-motion heuristic learning. Matthews admires low-budget ingenuity and likes stop-motion to be a little "ragged around the edges." You'll see influences such as (and homages to) Oliver Postgate and Terry Gilliam in his work.

When asked to describe his style, Matthews likened his work to "slightly more elaborate day-dream doodles around the themes of (my) lyrics. I try to devise surreal, dynamic visuals which are challenging to create but hopefully end up easy on the attention span."

In AWAY, Matthews explores a variety of stop-motion styles to animate another of his original songs. 

Sharing a sentiment with all Stop Motion Planet fans, Matthews says he finds stop-motion "very Zen, creatively rewarding and (I'm) simply in love with the medium. My humble goal is to keep pushing myself to develop, improve and hopefully entertain anybody else who wants to watch along the way."

Keep it up, Tim!

 

Scott CulpepperComment
Time Machine - Things I Like To Do

Check out this music video for Time Machine's "Things I Like To Do" track from their third studio album, "The Test of Time." It was written and directed by artist and director Deepti Menon who created a lively and fun 2D stop-motion animation that reflects the song's vibrancy and wit. The animation was achieved with paper puppets and found materials using After Effects and Adobe Premier Pro. Learn more about Deepti Menon and her artwork.

The video is the single from Time Machine's new album "The Test Of Time," available June 22nd. Check out more of Time Machine on:

iTunes
Spotify
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Uploaded by YouTuber Glow Like This

How To Make A Puppet Film in Your Garage

Squirrel Island creator Astrid Goldsmith's presentation on "Alternative Methods of Animation Film Production" speaks to the soul of the traditional stop-motion animator. Goldmsith is engaging and candid as she examines her working process from storyboarding to animating and editing outside of a traditional modern studio set-up; the importance of collaboration; and finding alternative sources of funding and distribution. 

If you haven't yet seen Squirrel Island, be sure to check out Goldmsith's Kickstarter success story that was seven years in the making.  It's a stop-motion sci-fi action thriller about squirrel apartheid. "When a lone renegade grey squirrel and a hunted acorn find themselves trapped on a hostile and mysterious red squirrel island, they uncover a horrifying plot that threatens their future." It was shot on 16mm with a 1969 Bolex in Astrid's garage in Folkestone. Since completion in 2016, it has won several awards, was BAFTA long-listed and has been shortlisted for best animated film at many international film festivals.

Uploaded by YouTuber Deeson