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MARCH 2003

03-31-03
* If one pursues Stop Motion as a solo practitioner, one usually must be a jack-of-all-trades, eclectic, renaissance person, etc.. My roots are in gadgeteering and metalworking and basically self-taught and I learned other stop motion aspects on my own too .... trial & error and experimentation. I started when the internet was almost non-existent. Today much information available to reduce the learning curve. Here is site that I have not yet linked to my website yet but giving it to you now Metal Web News ..... just a whole bunch of cool links about metalworking, resources and forums.

* From the SMA message board and just spreading the news here: The channel Turner Classic Movies (or TCM) will be broadcasting a three-night Harryhausen tribute near the end of June and they will be airing the recently completed 12-minute short film Tortoise and the Hare, twice. This is plenty of advance notice .....check your local TV listing/schedule for exact times .....so there is no excuse for you to miss this and also video record it!
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03-26-03
* Damn! Marc Spess at AnimateClay.com, beat me to this news item. I just posted this right now to the News page here, then I decided to go to Marc's news page and he already had this up! Good detective work Marc! I wish, I had the time to research as thorough as he does. Anyway, take a look at this link Having Soul: 45 Years of Nukufilm Studio. An in-depth background about this puppet animation studio in Russia and apparently they are still around! Just good to know that Globally, Stop Motion Animation still has life left and it is only in the hi-tech-digitally fanatical mainstream production mills, where they consider Stop Motion, out of date or old. As been mentioned before and historically, Puppets in general, have more of a European and also Asian roots (like Japan). Many have said this a million times .....It's GOOD Story & Characters and not necessarily the animation method, but this falls on Deaf Ears to the addicted CGI mainstream powers that be.
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03-24-03
* Seems almost impossible today seeing Stop Motion in the mainstream products from Tinsel CGI Town but Stop Mo certainly has some kind of underground existence or life in other markets and people still seem to be intrigued by it .....either actually doing Stop Mo as a hobby or just watching it. Anyway, I just heard that the new Willard 2003 movie has an opening title sequence using some Stop Motion. What a miracle, some of the Hollywood Corporate "Suits" still going for the Ancient & Archaic Stop Motion Animation method? ;) The talented people at Nirvan did the opening Stop Mo shots and they have lots of behind the scenes info including a QuickTime clip so you can see their Willard work.
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03-19-03
* With Stop Motion especially for those starting out or even those with some experience, there is always that quest or journey to seek knowledge about it. Thanks to the great resource of the internet, there is a just a little bit more information (not that much yet) about this arcane and ethereal animation craft which is trying to survive the iron fist onslaught of the CGI'ist forces ;) Where am I going with this? Well, I could do another rant but I will not (for now). When you find information, tricks, or something about stop motion or some other method that might be adapted or modified for stop motion .... STOP right now and PRINT IT! I am guessing you were in a momentary state of shock when Anthony's SMA message board recently went offline for awhile. Internet is alway in a state of flux (always changing) and that favorite website might not be there tomorrow and that includes me .... I may just split one day and move to Australia and live off the "fat of the land"! ;) Sooooo .....one can use lots of ink when printing with Inkjet Printers and it is a Rip-off what retail stores charge. There are also many online stores selling inkjet cartridges but here is one I have used and I like their service and recommend.....InkJet Savings ..... very, very low prices and they pay for shipping in USA. How do you like that abrupt segue/transition?! I should go into marketing!
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03-17-03
* Ever heard of Loose Moose Animation? A studio in England that does high quality stylized stop motion. In the USA they are better known for their Lipton' s Brisk Ice Tea television commercial spots.... with caricatures of Bruce Lee, Danny Devito, Bruce Willis, James Brown, Sylvestor Stallone, etc. Lipton's still has online, a Puppets Against Brisk campaign site but it does not seem active and perhaps Lipton are not doing the puppet ads on TV any more. I think you can still watch quicktimes of some of the Brisk spots. That is too bad we're not seeing a continuation of the Brisk puppet ads, but I suppose that is the fickleness nature of advertising agencies .... these days their addictive need to constantly change ad campaign's instead of building on a foundation of a good ad & product identity. Here is a small Loose Moose Background article, then an Oscar Myer commercial they did some work on. Although, we are being innudated with a plethoric cornucopia of CGI, there still seems to be some Stop Motion Life in Europe and other countries. England for example, has had a much longer history of stop motion on their broadcast TV (compared to USA) and the Arts in Europe/overseas just has a more historical background & roots of general Puppetry.
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03-10-03
* In this NY times article, In a Digitally Animated World, Oscar Stands Rigid .... it is the author's opinion that the Oscar people are in the Stone Age. I do not necessarily agree. Technology & Digital area moving so fast and perhaps the Academy is just waiting to sort things out. The Two Tower's Gollum character is such a varied mixture of different methods, but the movement source was primarily from live action performance via motion capture. To me.... Animation is the frame-by-frame creation & movement of some kind of character that is initiated by the artist/animator. Most of Gollum's motion was in real time, so is that "animation"? What about traditional animation where Disney did rotoscoping in the early days (copying/tracing live action movement and did not publicize it), then later Ralph Bashki did it. So, I do not know what to think anymore .... it's getting to be a very gray area. Academy says, to qualify in the "animation" category, at least 75% of movie must be "animated effects". Does that sound vague? It sure does to me. Animated effects could be interpreted as "special effects. Oh yeah, here is another article, The Two Towers: Built on Weta's Precious Mettle .... pretty in depth and near the end it does allude to Stop Motion.
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03-06-03
* There are variations of Stop Motion and actually, Cel/Drawn Animation could be considered in a category of Stop Motion by its "technical definition" (go to FAQ & scroll down to question 2). Ever heard of Lumage Animation? .... a mostly unheard of animation method. Lumage animation is perhaps a fancy or high-brow description of a basic Cut-out/Stop Mo animation technique but with more refined methods that incorporates flat artwork in front of backlit backgrounds. Well ... a little heard of movie called Twice Upon a Time (1983) was something most of the general public did not see. It used the Lumage animation method. Directed by John Korty and Produced by George Lucas. Even Henry Selick, director of Nightmare Before Christmas, worked on Twice Upon a Time as a "sequence director". Kind of a slow film and suppose to be targeted to adults. I saw it years ago, I think on Showtime movie channel. Very interesting just watching the animation technique .... very, very stylized. Some say Twice is kind of a minor cultish movie. I have an old American Cinematographer that gave brief glimpse of how it was done with small photos of behind the scenes. Anyway various links here about Twice Upon a Time .... there is no particular order and from different websites 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - Video
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03-03-03
* In the past, I have posted on forums about this hybrid-combo DV camcorder-digital still camera, the Sanyo iDshot, but it seems to go unnoticed by stop motion people. I think this is a pretty unique product. Some on the stop motion animation forum are planning & thinking of all sorts of complex ways to use a Digital Still Camera to record single frames (animation) in a high pixel image resolution for supposedly highest quality and affords them future options to transfer to 35mm movie film (How can you afford movie transfer costs?) If your end goal is for TV format then just go with the best quality DV camcorder as the high resolution is overkill for broadcast TV. Check this out .... with the iDshot, everything is digitally stored on a mini-type CD disc (No tape is used) with high capacity to store images (no limited storage memory cards). You can use the iDshot as a camcorder and it's the only camcorder that I know of that can shoot true single frames and instantly playback your animation in the 640x480 camcorder resolution mode which is reasonably okay for broadcast TV. However, if you want to go the overkill high pixel image resolution route, in the iDshot's still image mode at 1360 x 1024 fine resolution, you can store 1200 still images on its mini-CD. That is a lot of high-res digital still images compared to still cams with the memory card storage. So at 30 fps .... about less than a minute of pretty high resolution animated still images stored on the disc. Just have extra discs and you can continue to store more still images. Afterwards, you then have to firewire download the stills from the iDshot to your computer's drive. Also, because the iDshot works & focuses like a camcorder, I am guessing that as your are animating/shooting with the iDshot, you might not get that possible frame-to-frame "focusing shift problems" as some have experienced with standard digital still cameras. So, a possible animation setup might be ..... a webcam used with a frame grabber program (Stop Motion Pro, Animator DV, Framethief,etc.) to monitor the progress of animation, then you have your iDshot to record the master high-res pixel digital still images. Probably among digital imaging purists or nerds, they might question iDshot's imaging sensor quality which uses one 1/2" CCD, here are Specifications and here is Sanyo iDshot Distributor.
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