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   JANUARY 2009

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01.28.09
'Coraline' behind the scenes: Technical, Cams, & Stuff ..... We posted earlier this month 01.07.09 (scroll down this page) about the Industrial Vision cams used on 'Coraline'. We found some other article/blog-bytes about this camera modified for Stop Motion. The newer write-ups do not reveal that much more but perhaps some miniscule extra details. For the many of you into mega-schmega high pixel  Stop Mo digital capture, the consumer/prosumer Digital SLR-type cams should be satisfactory. These industrial vision cams are very costly and then need to be modified & tweaked. I also heard through the 'grapevine' that this model of industrial vision-type cameras were perhaps, not as user-friendly for Stop Motion because of very long exposure times, compared to the quicker exposure times of Digital SLRs. I still do not know $how much$ this brand of Industrial vision cams cost and I do not feel like contacting the sellers. Why don't they list the prices on their website?? Here are the other article-bytes, Digital Imaging Goes to the Movies - Coraline - On the Set

Armature-less or No Armatures Stop Motion ..... What do I mean by that? Stop Motionists or specifically, maybe beginner Stop Moes are sometimes obsessed with doing the more well known Stop Motion techniques using puppets and they want to copy a Harryhausen or something like Nightmare Before Xmas. I do understand that desire and enthusiasm. I get inquiries from newbies about cost of stop motion armatures. Some have grandiose Stop Motion projects far beyond their existing skill sets. I often preach, "Walk before you Run" but it seems, The New Millenium MySpacey Generation do not the patience. If that is so,then Stop Motion is not for those personality types. Stop Motion is a creative process that requires perseverance, problem solving,  resourcefulness, and patience. It is NOT 'instant' results such as from the more sterile 'mouse-clicking' CGI animation methods. As an option, you do not need complex jointed armatures to explore Stop Motion creativity. There are other variations or sub-categories of Stop Motion. I have ranted in past about it and posted recently at SMW Random Cinema©, Her Morning Elegance (pixillation/animation directed by Yuval & Merav Nathan) and Fast Film 2 . You want more examples? Check-out another, IMO, cool photo cut-out animation example ..... Whatcha got!'Making of' videoQuickie interview with creator and another photo cut-out animation by same  EDIT: 01.29.09

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01.24.09
Stop Motion Works: Coraline Give-away Contest .... A few selected websites were offered to sponsor the 'Coraline' contests and SMW was one of them. Each of these contests are being done differently. I believe, I'm doing one of the easier contest entry requirements. You do not have to answer trivia questions and no submission of 'Coraline' related artwork or do any kind of animations. All you have to do, is subscribe to the Stop Motion Works News email notification. This is a FREE service.  Anytime we post news here (which is more frequent & regular now), you will automatically receive an email to notify you that the latest news is online

Look dudes & dudettes, we provide unique spin on Stop Motion & animation in general, with injection of occasional tirades, 'meaning of life' insights, and slight politics . If you do not want to enter the contest, how about just subscribing to the frigg'n SMW News or if you prefer, use the RSS Feed? Sheeeez, you lurking Stop Moes are the most zip-lipped & non-interactive introverts . The least you can do, is this favor.  I have 'ego needs' too  and desire to experience a similar Sally Fields ephiphany . Stop Motion Works version of this 'Coraline' contest is soooo easy. What are you waiting for? Here is the SMW Coraline Contest page

* Charles H. Schneer passes away, 1920-2009 ....  He was always in the background as the producer for almost all of Ray Harryhausen's classic features. Unfortunately, it looks like Charles had Alzheimers. As far as I know, only one major online news outlet, Variety has reported on the death of Charles Schneer (Jan 21) and other online news taken from Variety. In hindsight, it appears that Schneer's public appearances were rare including in the media. Here is one of him in 1977 and another very brief one, around 1988; at 7min 30secs you'll see Charles. It's usually the unsung hard working people behind the scenes that many times, do not get recognized (in all manner of life accomplishments, in general). Charles' job likely not considered glamorous. From what I heard & understood, his personality was maybe somewhat gruff and business-like, which probably what is needed to be an effective 'producer'. A better write-up, L.A.TIMES

Let's hope in the history of cinema, in this micro-niche of Stop Motion Animation, that Schneer's name will be remembered as the right hand man behind Ray Harryhausen, a team that was the seed of inspiration to many of the Special Effects practioners of today. Some comments/statements from others Aint it Cool - Monster Kid Class Forum - Stop Motion Forum  EDIT: 01.25.09
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01.18.09
* Sarah Silverman: Birth to Beastie .... This is my fourth post on Tennapel & Chiodo Brothers about this specific Stop Mo puppet saga. The last one was back in August '08. This final SMW News installment (maybe), we have a link to behind the scenes of the Sarah Silverman Show, shooting the episode where she gives birth to this green flying creature thing. It appears that these are the rough trial or temporary composites of the Stop Mo shots. I do not subscribe to TV cable or satillite dish to watch this show or the other plethora of mind numbing TV channel diversions. Anyway, take a look at the video clip Sarah's Baby Birth

* Coraline Handmade Mystery Boxes .... Topic at messageboard about this. They are trying to figure out who got the boxes. I assume some of the mystery box recipients do not visit the forum (or they maybe just lurk & info sponge). If you are one of the one's counting the 50 Boxes, maybe this will help Coraline Boxes Coraline ~ 50 boxes + MORE! Jeremy Spake and here

Stop Motion Works Happenings & Update .... Just did very slight change of SMW News layout at top of page. I got bored of looking at the repetitive flashing banners so I replaced it with a player window box for random posting of clips & videos of anything that I want to show (kind of like 'Video of the Week' thing) and not necessarily related to just animation. Other update: Stop Motion Works might host some kind of Coraline Contest giveaway prizes (not sure yet).

I was recently pondering about Stop Motion Animation as a powerful communication tool to make commentary and impact. Online movie-vids-clips in general (not only animation) being steadily uploaded now, thanks to the plethora of YouTube and other free video hosting sites.The uploaded videos many times are not slick or polished but sometimes still able to make some kind of strong 'statement' that grabs the audience and it then goes viral. Example 1 Example 2. Historically and to present day, Politics and Entertainment has at times, been combined to propagandize, but now, even more hyper-frequent blurring together with all these new media high tech communication tools to brainwash , I mean, to 'persuade' the gullible minds of The New Millenium MySpacey iPodified Generation and also, some of the older Pot Smoking generation from the Hippie Dippy Days 
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01.12.09
* 'Subservience' and 'Love & War' .... One might categorize these as drama or maybe highbrow subject animations, at least the first one here. Promoters of the Stop Motion animated short, 'Subservience' gives this brief overview: "In this apocalyptic vision of the future, the selfishness of the bourgeoisie and the dull passivity of its servants are the theme of this puppet animation presenting the tragicomedy of a society in its death throes, taking refuge in absurd behaviour."   If the theme or story is vague or ethereal, at the very least, imagery, scenes, compositions, lighting, etc. executed with some finesse.

'Love & War' is described as a Romantic Soap Opera. The two main characters are anthropromorphized animals acting as humans (as in many animations since the beginning of cinema history). In this one it's Bunny & Bear that have the 'Hots' for each other . I'm spotlighting it here only because the promo-buzz on the internet suggests that it is 'Animation and/or  Stop Motion'.  To me, It looks like Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds live action puppet work which is fine, however maybe a misrepresention of the technique used to create 'Love & War'?? This also  has some CGI for background and other computer added digital FX. Reasonably okay with regards to story, but IMO, the grandiose, sweeping & dramatic musical score orchestration seems to be overkill or clash with the doll-like puppet visual style. So, you think 'L & W' is Stop Motion?

For those with patience and at your option, herewith enclosed ..... 'Subservience' is 8 minutes and 'Love & War' is 14 minutes.

* Stop Motion Armature Kits .... I am briefly commenting about what you might call, my competitors since the area of my strong expertise is Custom Stop Motion Armatures. For some years, I have had blueprints and concepts for 'LIO Style?' modular stop motion armaturing kits or parts. Unfortunately, from the inquiries I receive, the generaconsumer 'public' seems to expect Walmart-like discounted pricing.  If I ever got into armature kit making, I am not going to under-price them. I have to value my time/labor and focus on what has to pay the rent/bills.

The 'Armature Kits' that are floating out there on the internet, vary in quality.  I do not know how well they function and do not expect me to give them endorsements because I have not ever received sample armature kits, for me to make an objective evaluation. I can only can go by their armature photos and some of the past anecdotals comments by those who purchased armature kits. The 'all jointed armature kits' that are available, by studying the photos, I can do some critiquing & suggestions for design and engineering improvements, however, I would be giving away some of my secrets to the competitors . In general though, for the reasonable costs for the armature kits, I suppose they should work reasonably okay. Most kits offered are of generic human form. You would have to do additional modifications and get additional joints to make other kinds of non-humans, animals, or creature-type armatures.

At this time, I personally do custom pro armatures, but FYI, I am listing those who provide some form of 'Armature Kits or Parts'. Only listing them (in no particular order) and I am not endorsing them. Up to you to check them out, Skeletoon - Animation Supplies - Armaverse - Armabenders - Hugh's Armatures - Stop-Mo-Tec - Armature FX
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01.07.09
'Coraline': Industrial Machine-Vision Cameras used .... Okay, I know some of you mega-schmega pixel-holics & compulsive equipment nerds, may accidentally crap in your pants about this (delirious with excitement). Nothing I can do about you addicts  of technical gadgetry, toys, and bells & whistles. Remember, it is the artists & their skilled talents that are the foundation of the finished creative work. Relying on Technology or Special Effects Up the WaZoo, will NOT make GREAT movies (You understand .... 'Suits'? )

'Coraline' production used Redlake machine-vision digital cams, model Megaplus II / EC11000. Specs say these cams are 11 Mega-pixels and have thermo-electric CooLing feature. The article-byte I read, states that about 3 dozen of these cameras where purchased by Laika. Do not rush for your credit cards. You have to contact the specialty camera company sellers, just to get a 'price quote' for these cameras. If 'prices' are not listed on the internet, you can be sure that they are Hella EXPENSIVE. I am assuming that each camera is about the cost of a CAR?? I am also guessing, these Megaplus II cams likely needed additional tweaking, adjusting, or slight modification for Stop Motion/Motion Picture use, and maybe 'proprietary software' created. All that, jacking-up the cost of the already hyper-priced cams. One of the mega-perks of having Mega-mega million dollar budgets for a movie. Here you go, dig in & pig-out in your fantasy wet dreams , what is perhaps, the 'Nirvana Holy Grail' digital camera for Stop Motion Animation (In designer colors maybe?) CCD cams enable Stop Motion in feature film - MegaPlus II EC11000 cooled digital camera - One of sellers of MegaPlus digi-cams - Detailed MegaPlus EC1100 Specs

* Unsettling Stop Motion .... Examples of the power of Stop Motion and to those who may diss it and still continue to stereotype Stop Mo as for, 'kids only'. For me, viewing all these online video hosting sites in these small player windows is not a substitute for watching on a good ol' Television set and then kicking back in your comfortable couch (a better viewing experience). I suppose, 'online viewing' on computer is better than nothing. These animated shorts would have more impact in totally dark room (to enhance creepy factor) with the volume cranked up (again, ideally on TV set) Here you go 'Illuminant' by Tobias - 'Lucía' made in Chile - 'Santa goes South' directed by Peter Wallach

* 'Coraline' Exhibit in San Francisco .... Jan 24 - Feb 15 according to this post and will take place at the Cartoon Art Museum.

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'Gerald's Last Day' ....  A Stop Motion short by Justin Rasch & crew (his family!). Took about 3 years and he blogged about the progress. Justin experienced at 2D & CGI animation but this was his first attempt at Stop Motion. Ups and downs during production but finally finished. His perseverance, artistic creative talents, and 'animation principle' savvy, resulting in a very professional looking animated short. It is now doing the Film Festival Tour. Here is video interview & check-out his Stop Motion Mission blog.

'Ghostbusters' Terror Dog Stop Mo puppet on eBay .... This was sold last month Dec 11, for $13,000. Did not include the jointed armature. Likely, replaced with a wire armature inside puppet.
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01.02.09
* Michael Sullivan more Underground than L.A. Underground Stop Moes .... I sometimes, affectionately  refer to a certain 'clique' of Stop Motionists who are usually secretive, withdrawn, and zip-lipped on the forums , as the L.A. Underground Stop Moes . They have worked on 'Robot Chicken', 'Morel Orel', and other Stop Motion projects.

This Sullivan dude though, does not seem to be from the L.A. crowd (maybe East Coaster NY). He could be his own clique of 'one' and on the fringe edges, and sort of Bruce Bickford'ish? A 'mucho un artista independiente ' who does not follow any crowd. At this time Mr. M. Sullivan seems to be exploring Adult or "How you say?" Erotic themed Stop Motion about the 'Sex Lives of Robots' . All stylized and utilizing Junk Yard ambiance which is very real and not CGI faked like that '9' in progress Acker flick.  Just think; hard to believe that there exists, Stop Motionists who never ever  visited the Stop Motion message board?? Hmmm, or maybe Michael Sullivan actually has lurked & info sponged the forum? We will never known. This is for Mature Audiences. Quick read & pics  Watch Teaser

Library of Congress adds 25 Films .... Includes 'The 7th Voyage of Sinbad' (1958) and 'The Terminator' (1984). The registry recognizes movies that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time.

Comic Con: New York City Feb 6 to 8 .... 'Robot Chicken's' (Stop Motion) Seth Green and Matthew Senreich are special guests. My cousin , Guillermo Del Toro (Stop Motion 'Pinocchio' movie) will also be a guest at Con.  This is the biggest gathering on the East Coast which is not about Stop Motion but with more than 2,500 booths of action figures, comic books, collectibles, T-shirts and other things related to the 'genre', all spread out over three levels. If you have time, maybe opportunity to schmooz with some in the 'genre biz'.

Live Action looks like simple Stop Motion .... A method using Tilt-Shift Photography and other post software photo tricks that gives images a 'miniature-like' illusion.

OFF TOPIC : Celebrating 2009? ..... You got amnesia already? Bailed-out Wall Street & many others in the 'clique' getting the big $$$ hand-outs, are the likely one's who are 'Celebrating & Partying'. Let's see if the new President aka 'The One' is pragmatic & has commonsense and not go too extreme towards the Liberal agenda. No way that electric & especially solar, can meet the very Heavy Duty power needs of most current UPS delivery trucks and the 18 Wheelers that transport YOUR everyday goods and consumer products (foam latex, ultra-cal, clay, machine tools ). It is insane to impose more taxes on businesses in verrrry BAD economy. 'Green Global Warm'ist Gestapos' proposing FEEs on Farmer's Livestock, known as 'Cow Fart Tax'. Who will pay more for dairy & meat products? YOU. You, me, and many are smarter than these elected government bureaucrats. If they do not listen or perform, kick their asses out! Does not matter which political party. Happy New Year? I will let you know January 1, 2010, if it was .

* January SMW Random Cinema©: 



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