Posts Tagged ‘news’
I recently came a across a very informative interview done by HTV West production for Channel 4 UK with Ray Harryhausen – the stop motion animation genius of the forties and fifties. I have reproduced some of the interview here for all to enjoy.
“The skeleton fight in Jason and the Argonauts were quite an ambitious thing to bite off because I never animated multiple figures. And we wanted to have seven skeletons fighting three men. We had seven stuntmen each portraying one of the skeletons and the actors would rehearse with the stuntmen, so that would give them a chance to count their moves and see just where they had to stop their movements in order to give the impression that they were fighting with the skeleton.
I had to take about four and a half months on that particular sequence which only lasted for five minutes. It took four and a half months in the front of the animation camera to animate seven skeletons because many times I would only average thirteen frames a day.”
Ray goes on to talk about the history of stop motion and how he was inspired by Willis O Brien..
“The combination of live action and animation goes way back to the silent days. We use models of course unlike Roger rabbit and some of the other cartoons we see today. We used a dimensional model which blends much more closely with the live action than a flat drawing such as you saw in Mary poppins.
Then of course Willis O’Brien on the last world combine of live action with animation. And King Kong was the really his highlight of the combination. I wandered into Grauman’s Chinese theater in Hollywood boulevard some years ago in 1933 when I was the tender age of thirteen. And I haven’t been the same since. I just found that this picture haunted me so, so I had to find out how it was done.”
Harry then talks about how he created his own first series of stop motion animation shorts..
“ And when I found out about the glories of stop motion animation, I started to experiment in my garage and after that it gradually developed from my hobby to a profession. I had the great pleasure of working with George Pal for a while, before the war he was doing a series of puppetoons of the time. But they were very stylized figures and they were not the same type of drama that I was really interested in.
Mother Goose Stories.
After the war I made my own series of puppet films. I made a series of five films. I called them Mother Goose stories. I funded the films myself. They were very easy to make because I didn’t pay myself a salary. It was sort of one man job. My family helped me out very much. My father became interested in it, my mother dressed the figures. So it was more or less a family enterprise. The plaster heads were all extreme expressions. They, I made one placid expression and then carved maybe to make ten casernes and carved each one slightly different into extreme expressions. And then I’d dissolve into eight frames from one head to the other.
Of course in red riding hood, the wolf was very dear to my heart because it was the type of thing I wanted to do. Later on, when I got involved with dinosaurs and pre-historic animals, of course they are all creatures of fantasy and I found them much more enjoyable to work with than just a normal character.
We found the melodrama was very useful for the medium of dimensional animations and of course it is always been used with dinosaurs. Willis O’Brien, my mentor, he used the dinosaur and the gorilla animations. Well after king Kong, he was my hero. And I called him up with MJM one time, he was very courteous and encouraging and we became friends and later on when he got involved with Mighty Young (1949), he chose me his assistant. Again a gorilla, a nice kind gorilla, very sympathetic and it didn’t have the same impact of course that King Kong had.”
Ray Moves to the UK.
“Both Charles Schneer and myself came to England originally to make two films and we’ve been here ever since. This was way back in 1960. After the seventh voyage the studio had an old script called Mysterious Island.
I took the shell of the crab, made a mechanism that would go inside specifically for animation. Then you can make the crab to do what exactly you want him to do. We wanted to do some close ups of all the intricate mechanisms in the mouth. So, we got six live edible crabs and when we put them under the lights, of course they got very languid, and they all fell asleep I think. I wondered how you know when a crab is asleep. And that evening we ate our actors. I think Hitchcock would have been pleased.”
Ray talks about how Sound and Music in Stop Motion Animation brings it to life
“The music is very important. I, I have always felt 50% of the success of a fantasy film is the music. The music hightens the emotions and makes the whole thing bigger than life!
You see, medusa is quite a complicated figure. She has twelve snakes in her hair and each snake has to be animated. You roll her eyes by using a pencil eraser, and each frame of them you move them slightly until you get them into the position you want. And inside her lips, she has little levers that give her a chance to have some sort of mobile features.
These types of pictures are not a directors picture. They have to be laid out ahead of time in a very careful way so that they can be made for a reasonable cost. The pictures laid out many times before the director is even brought on to the scene. He has to handle the actors naturally. But the actual film is laid out by Charles and myself and the writer.
I’m retired from making films because it does take too much of your life. We spent three years on the clash of the titans, and there’s long time in preparation and long time in, after everybody goes home and they go on another picture on rest of the crew, maybe do two pictures but I am still putting the first one together. But I’m in hopes that one day that there will be a viable museum that will house all the materials because it is actually is the bridge between Willis O’Brien’s work and the work of today. I have had a great success practically, say 90% in doing what I wanted to do I did. I’m told the stars of my films were my creatures because most of them received the best write ups.”
ALEXANDRIA, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today posted its newest video, The Real Story of Bottled Water<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwV2JpFnxWM>, on its consumer-oriented YouTube channel, Bottled Water Matters, as a humorous retort/rebuttal to misleading claims made by anti-bottled water activists. Consumers are encouraged to view the entertaining rejoinder The Real Story of Bottled Water shown below.
“In the past few months, activists have made claims that the bottled water industry ‘manufactures demand’ for bottled water,” said Tom Lauria, IBWA Vice President of Communications. “But the truth is that demand for bottled water is ‘consumer driven,’ and our video illustrates this important difference by giving viewers insightful background information about the industry and the true reasons of bottled water’s widespread popularity.”
“I expect that this video will be an eye-opener for some people who may have only heard the false and inaccurate information being disseminated by activists,” he said.
Produced in-house, IBWA’s video uses claymation, a live stop-action technique, to tell The Real Story of Bottled Water. A talking 5-gallon water cooler bottle made from blue modeling clay — addresses the YouTube audience, giving them her side of the real story of bottled water.Facts are supported by using source credits throughout the video.
The video is among more than a dozen videos on the Bottled Water Matters YouTube channel aimed at addressing misinformation about the bottled water industry.
“Lucky for us, most people use common sense and can tell when they are being misled—or they check the facts out for themselves. A lot of information-spin on the theory of the so-called ‘manufactured demand’ can be easily researched and debunked,” Mr. Lauria said.“To save consumers time, we’re happy to do it for them.”
Some comments from viewers of the video…
I love Perrier, Mountain Valley and San Pellegrino in glass! But glass is heavy and that means a potentially larger carbon footprint when shipping. You mention “filter stations” as if something needs to be done to tap water to make it drinkable. With so much packaged in plastic, it’s odd you pick on the healthiest beverage around. BTW, PET doesn’t leech.
The argument Tap vs Bottled is ridiculous: Municipal water suppliers are allowed to distribute contaminated water, as long as they “inform” the public about the contamination. I get a letter twice a year letting me know that my tap water exceeds the EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels for Arsenic and Fluoride. If this water was in a bottle it would NOT be allowed to be distributed. Also some of the first responders in a crisis for disaster relief are the bottlers with small thanks from JQ Public!
We had a very pleasant surprise last week to find Disneys’ FamilyFun magazine recommend iKITMovie animation software!
It was Recommended by FamilyFun digital manager Samuel Mead and kids, Ruby, age 8, and Finn, 5 (plus cousins Cedar, 15, Silas, 11, Matia, 12, and Noah, 9) – Their tips were ..
Stop-motion animation programs are compatible with most digital video cameras and some digital still cameras (check before you download). I had to adjust my camera’s settings from HD to DV before beginning. For a more professional look, we set our camera on a tripod and shot against a flat, brightly lit sheet of white paper. To inspire my young animators, I showed them some of the many finished works posted online. The kids were particularly jazzed by a short called “Western Spaghetti” (eatpes.com).
Also we got an really nice article by Karin Piper author of “Charter Schools – The Ultimate Guide for Parents” about us on Examiner.com.
Karin is a speaker, school choice advocate and author of award winning Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents. Karin provides communications and tools necessary for parents to become informed decision makers in the expanding world of education options. She also works with various organizations in engaging with surrounding communities and creating dynamic relationships with families. Karin can be contacted through Karin@theeducationchoiceexpert.com or visit her website at charterschoolmom.com.
The first trailer for the Classic story the “The Princess and the Frog” and just been released on Youtube.
While I am more a fan of stop motion animation I have a soft spot for this story. It is an enduring favourite of mine since I was young. This version according to Disney’s Press releases for the movie takes a more modern look at the classic and extends it’s basic concept to examine what happened after the princess kissed the frog Prince. So in that sense it is loosely based on E.D. Baker’s version of The Frog Prince.
The movie will be in cinemas on December 24th, 2009. Disney describe it as an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. The prince named Naveen from Maldonia has been turned in to a frog by a voodoo magician, Dr Facilier. The frog mistakes Tiana for a princess and asks for a kiss to break the spell.
As I mentioned the story surrounds a beautiful girl named Tiana and her interactions with a frog who wants to be human again. However after that fateful kiss ,Tiana finds herself turned in to a frog! In another twist the princess for the first time in history in this story .. is black (about time!).
The animators behind The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, the famous team of John Musker and Ron Clements return to the hand-drawn animation form in this movie. As a result it definitely has the look and feel of the original Disney animations.
The music is composed by Oscar®-winning composer Randy Newman. Worth a visit to the cinema for the nostalgia alone.
We have just completed development and testing of our new installer for all versions of iKITMovie Stop Motion software. Up to this we had been using straightforward setup executables for the three versions of iKITMovie. But this caused some issues for those using Vista. With the new MSI (Microsoft Installer) format, users of any windows operating system can install without having to use the “setup as administrator” option. Also the new format will allow us to give check for updates functionality to customers in future releases. Users will still need to have the administrator password, but this is normal for installing any software.
Also Cecil ( our mascot ) gets more exposure in the setup. He sure likes the limelight.
The MSI version of the Trial copy of our stop motion software also now allows trial users to test the export of their movie made in iKITMovie. This will allow the testing of export and upload to Youtube and so forth. There is a watermark on export to indicate it is a trial version but this will be removed on purchase of a full license.
Following a number of requests by existing trial download users of stop motion software iKITMovie I would like to tell everyone that we will release a new free trial download on the 1st of September 2009.
This new version of our stop motion software, version 1.6, will now include export functionality. This will allow trial users to export their movies in MP4 or WMV format. The exported movie will have a watermark however but this will be removed from the snapshots taken if a license is purchased. So you will not lose any projects you have created in the trial version.
This extended trial is to allow everyone to better experience this innovative stop motion software. As usual the first sound of every category in the sound fx library will also be accessible. You can also add your own sounds in MP3 or Wav format. Voice over can be added and exported in this new trial.
Note that there is a limit of 300 frames in the trial version. This will allow you to test you stop motion skills, while checking your webcamera and digital still image imports.
The new trial download is now smaller in size. Thanks to the msi format the install will run simply by double clicking on the file once downloaded.
We are planning a number of new and exciting features in future releases of iKITMovie Stop Motion software so stay tuned and come back and visit again.
Also if you have any questions we now have a handy contact us form. We will respond within 24 hours max.
I was reading an article I came across today in InsideNova about a little boy getting quite a lot of recognitiion for his stop motion endeavours. It sure is great to see a child’s creativity being critically acclaimed. C. Pond Brothers IV is his name but he goes by “dweezildna”. His stop motion demonstration
took centre stage in the home arts building at the 60th Annual Prince William County Fair. It seems like he is truely hooked on stop motion, just look at all the movies he has made already and he is only 10 years old. Check out his YouTube channel and dont forget to subscribe http://www.youtube.com/dweezildna. Wonder how he came up with that name?
It says he attends Bennett elementary school. I must try and get in touch with them, they might like to get involved in our “Getting Schools Animating Initiative”. You’d never know ! Prince William County Schools had a very impressive Summer Art Enrichment Program this Summer. Maybe given the success of one of their students making stop motion movies they might consider including stop motion animation in their 2010 Program. Who Knows? I’ll give them a call….