For my animation project, I decided to work with stop motion animation.
“Stop motion animation is also known as stop frame or claymation. The oldest form of animation, stop motion is the technique of moving and photographing objects or specially articulated models frame by frame. This method is used less often in modern animation, but it has a timeless appeal,” (Cavalier, Glossary, pg. 400).
I figured I could make a cool Godzilla short animation with my Godzilla action figure, some green Army men, and a camera. I’ve seen a lot of old Godzilla movies and I know they utilized stop motion extensively in some of the more over-the-top-scenes.
“It was widely used in the past to animate realistic models of monsters, etc., which were then inserted into live-action scenes,” (Cavalier, pg. 42).
I did some reading in our textbook and got a feel for what I would be doing, and referenced one of the most iconic stop motion films before I started shooting.
“The Lost World” (1925) was the first feature film to include stop-frame animation, and it left audiences and critics astounded by its combination of “lifelike” dinosaurs and human actors. This aspect, along with O’Brien’s stop-frame animation and the plot device of captured prehistoric monsters escaping into the modern world, would later form the basis for the 1933 smash hit King Kong as well as many other “monster on the loose” movies,” (Cavalier, pg. 86).
I was interested to see how my short animation would compare to The Lost World seeing as how it came out 89 years ago. I had better technology with a Canon 7D camera, but Willis O’Brien had skill, technique and a bigger budget than me. I followed the technique of painstakingly moving each figure bit by bit in each frame. Then, I sped up the viewing length and played music over the scene.
Needless to say, his film and my short are not comparable. However, I do like to think that O’Brien’s work paved the way for the old monster movies that I love and inspired me to try my hardest at working with stop motion animation for the first time. I had so much fun during the project that I can definitely see myself working with the medium again just for fun.
Below I’ve included some photographic stills used in my short as well as the link to my animation short on YouTube. Enjoy!