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August 2006

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08.26.06
* ESPN Stop Mo TV Ad by Laika .... NMBC Song Acoustical style ..... Amazing what there is on YouTube. Pretty detail clip of overview production description of a Stop Mo commercial. The Making of Believe (YouTube). I recognize & know a few people who are still hanging out there in the city of Portland, from the Vinton Studio days (now known as Laika). Also, watch-listen to this electric guitar soft style interpretation of Sally's Song (YouTube)

* Nikon's Coolpix S9 with Stop Motion .... Apparently, a new feature included in this consumer level digital still cam model. Now, do not expect to shoot your elaborate & complex Stop Mo projects with this camera. It looks like the added Stop Motion feature is included as something "fun" for public to experiment with. I believe, it has previous frame onionskin. After animating, you can select up to 200 frames & set the playback framerate, then final film automatically created in-camera and I think it outputs as Quicktime. Although, "we" as a microscopic minority, live, breathe, & eat Stop Motion, you have to remember, to the worldwide masses, this animation craft is obscure & maybe arcane to them. So I think, it is unusual & unique, that a mainstream camera maker like Nikon is offering a true single frame in-camera Stop Motion feature, in a general consumer digital still camera. Here is press release article and Nikon's Cooplix S9 more detailed description page.

* Foster Farms Chickens & Matrix Ping Pong .... No CGI here ... As some of you may already sense, sometimes there can be a sterility or too much perfection with "CGI special effects". IMO, this can also apply to stunt work where CGI stunt doubles being used. The feeling sometimes not real or too impossible and you sense the artificiality of it. Sure, movies are all illusion, but maybe there can be too much digital simulation/representation of reality and when you cross over a certain line or overdone, it is just not as exciting & impressive anymore. Will the "Tinsel Town Suits" ever "get it"? In the big evolutionary picture .... human species still drawn to the Real. Why do you think there are amusement parks and costumed characters? Also Sesame Street characters too. How about museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. where there is tactile interaction with the real. Adults, kids will always desire that visual viscerality, touch it, reality factor. It is genetically in all of us! An example, have you ever seen the Foster Farms TV ads? They are real puppets. The impact, effect and humor would NOT work if these chicken characters were done as CGI. Another example, great little clip from Japan .... Matrix Ping Pong (Google video) It is done "live" on stage, old school, low tech methods, precise choreography and some aspects of puppetry involved. It is interesting, fun and grabs you. I am not sure, but I think this is an amatuer talent contest-type show in Japan.You can imagine, this could work if choreography more refined & staged, then shot using green-screen, to remove the puppeteers.

* Who Are You? .... continuing series ..... I micro-blogged about this last week. A deathly silence out here, except for John Harvatine IV, just letting me know, that he is out here in the virtual cyber darkness and he does lurk at Stop Motion Works . Plenty of pics of John at his website. I already have seen some of you SMA.com members (pics or inperson) ..... Nick Hilligoss, Dan Anderson, Jeremy Spake, Mark Fullerton, Ted Sydor, Stanley Milton, Roger Evans, Mark & Keith Brett, Ethan Marak, Jurgen Kling, Susanna Jerger and a few others. You closeted Hold-outs, you know who you are . A few more pics from Sasquatch and also, showing him getting down with the Blues.
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08.19.06
* 30,000 times, people watching guy setting his fart on fire .... That is not my headliner but I am paraphrasing what someone wrote in an article. The author commenting about the YouTube phenomenon. In my own opinion, some good points but lots of vagueness in what his concluding views are. Although, I do agree with him, that a bunch of mediocrity & junk will dominate these YouTuber-type sites, however, I say (but author does not), the minority few of creative quality works on YouTube or its clones, might grab the audiences attention. As the saying goes, "The cream rises to the top". You may not initially get money from these freebie "video hosting sites", but it could be part of an overall publicity campaign to get people to notice your work, and that could lead to something else, maybe. Also, this article mentions Stop Motion. As I alluded to, kind of a so-so and maybe disjointed but some interesting comments from him .... Video Sharing, Amateur Art, and the Fight for a Populist Internet

* Who are you? I do not get too much response here when I do a rant or let off steam. Should I soften my style so that I will not appear to be intimidating? Someone I know who is not intimidated by me (it is all a persona-image!), is a long time member at the message board (about 5+ years), Stan Milton, who does not post a lot, but when he does, he comes up with good points and observations. He is known as Sasquatch and maybe just as aloof & elusive as the creature legend!? Also, Stan looks like a tough hombre and could compete in "Quien es mas Macho?" contests . Stan's hangout is somewhere in the state of Colorado, USA. I believe he has a regular straight job, but also, he is a creative musician in a "mostly" Blues band also performing some Oldies & Classic Rock'n Roll. Of course, Stan has had a long time interest in, and a practioner of the Stop Motion Arts. Just got some teaser photos from him, of some of his past Stop Mo puppets & sculpts. Hmmm .... I know what some of you look like, but many seem relunctant to show yourselves (photos)? In the beginning, I can understand, but after some years online, what do you think? Just hiding behind these written text-words? Are you running from the law or from your "ex"? The internet is a visual medium too. Personally, I would like to ocassionally see some "faces" attached to these words. Serves as a reminder of reality, the "human touch" factor, instead of this cold virtual cyberworld, where we are constantly reading-talking inside our brains Edit 08.19.06

* Not ... Stop Motion News .... If I start on these off topic things, I would probably be tirading so much, that extreme rage would take over and I may transform into The Hulk. So much stupid ass crap going on in society & world. It is getting insane and just worsening. Now, we got this Airline stuff in the news. IMO, how idiotically the bureacratic government & airline industry have handle it in the past & currently. In general, I do not even want to think of the future. I do not usually plan my "life", more than 90 days ahead! Live in the "now". Here is just a micro-scopic example of the crap that burns my foam rubber latex. This is an online video clip from a recent ABC NIghtline .... Your Tax Dollars paying for repeatedly destroyed Vacation Homes You ANGRY? Contact your elected USA "politicians"
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08.12.06
* Wally World in the movie business? It looks like they will be exclusive distributors of some new Stop Motion animation for direct-to-DVD. It will be Holiday season themes that may have some of the flavor of the ol' classic Rankin Bass classics. With Walmart being humongous, here and worldwide, they maybe have the clout to make this work. Perhaps, Holiday-type Stop Motion geared towards family/kids, is not exactly cutting edge use of our animation art-craft, but this is what I would call, very creative niche targeting - marketing (Walmart's involvement). Have I mentioned "niche" before? (again & again) The lucky studio that got in this gig and who will be doing the actual Stop Motion is, Bix Pix Animation. I posted about them back in April. Check this out Wal-Mart partners on Christmas DVD

* The Golden age is over .... now there's an excess of product ....Those are not my words but that of another deep thinker & observator (like myself ) out there. We are talking about the mainstream movie business being formulaic & homogenized, trying to appeal to LCD market. Here is quote from article, "Therein lies the contradiction: in the right hands, animation is the perfect vehicle for subversion, but in the economic landscape of movie-making, the only way to make animation profitable is to pitch it broad." Here is full article, Who Flamed Roger Rabbit? I know in this excess media onslaught upon our senses, the masses are ever more amnesia prone. So with that said, I am re-posting a damn good article about the decline of the Blockbuster, as applied to the entertainment industry. If there are any intelligent, forward thinking "Suits" out there, print this article, study it, and take action, The Rise and Fall of the Hit.
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08.05.06
* New Stop Motion Blogger Sites .... A couple of Vinton Studio veterans. First, we got Kevin McClean's blog ..... Stop-Mo-Kev. He worked at Vinton when it was at it's peak with lots of Stop Mo TV ad work and all Stop Mo TV series; The PJ's and Gary & Mike both were in production at about the same time. Kevin now works at DreamWorks. That's okay Kevin, we forgive you . Perhaps, you might be working on some personal stop motion stuff or reveal behind the scenes on past Stop Mo you worked on? Or stories, tips, or advice? .... Then there is ol' timer, Tony Merrithew another new blogger at TM. He has been associated with Vinton for 20 years and has lots of animation mileage frames under his belt. Right now he is working for Laika Studio (formerly Vinton) on the all Stop Mo "Coraline" feature. The same applies to you Tony. We hope you can share!! I suggest to readers of Stop Motion Works, to bookmark their websites .... encourage them, leave comments, ask questions so that they speak up. They might be Blog shy, but make them feel welcomed.

* Stop Motion Tools announcements ..... covering both extremes. One is Free and the other one is a $ Big Investment $. If you are a Mac person, you might jump on this one. It is called Single Framer 2.1. It is free and bare bones basic frame capturing program for use with DV camcorders. It does time lapse recording but it can also do single frame capturing with onionskin to see previous frame. I do not know if it has back & forth frame toggling. There is no online documention. I do not use Macs. If you are a money poor Stop Mo newbie or hobbyist and use Macs, give this program a test run and feedback. Even if you use another Mac based framegrabber, try this one out. Unfortunately, there are so few Mac animation capture programs and more quality Mac Stop Motion programs are needed .... The other high end product has been around for years, but this is a recent upgrade improvement. It is the LunchBox DV. Pricey but the thing is supposed to be built like a tank and rugged. Primarily for use as a high production-usage animation "aid-assist tool" with your Movie Film Cameras or nowadays, you can use Lunchbox DV as a "video assist" with Digital Still Cams. It has been used by a number of pro studios that do some Stop Motion. I believe Robot Chicken used some LunchBoxes as video assists with their Digital SLR Still Cams. Also, animation educational facilites use the LunchBoxes. This "hardware" animation equipment is not a computer and it is not software. There is no mouse clicking, no computer screens. It is a standalone portable unit you hook-up to regular TV set or video monitor and a DV camcorder. Price is not listed but just contact them.
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