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May 2008

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*Chiodo Brothers: Steve, Ed, & Charlie in Stop Motion Puppet Kitchen .... I found some short video clips from someone by the name of Doug Tennapel who visited the Chiodo Bros. Studio. At first, I did not know who Doug was until I looked him up. Usually not too much online of the Chiodos brothers revealing themselves, and this is so COOL seeing them behind the scenes and rolling up their sleeves, doing hands-on Stop Motion puppet fabrication. This is part of what Stop motion is about: Nutrient for the brain; the 'process' of creaton; the journey; hands-on, tactile with real materials, and some sweat equity effort. Perhaps, a Hell of a Lot more FUN than this?? 

These Chiodo clips are not a 'How-to', but just micro-glimpses of a Harryhausen-esque animation puppet creation at their studio. However, if you are one of the Lurking Info Spongers out here, there are plenty of golden nuggets of technique revelations in these clips. How spoiled you all are . You are so accustomed to the 'Internet' and you have available at your fingertips, a plethoric cornucopia of all manner of information on everything imaginable (or unimaginable!). Stop Motion for example: In the early days, we only had fuzzy still pictures from magazines and we used magnifying glasses to study those photos, to figure this out, then piece together the Stop Motion Mystery-puzzle. Also, in those days, rare to see detailed photos of stop motion armatures. 

Click the numbered links; each video will then appear in the player window below; then click bottom left arrow to play video: 1 - 2 - 34 - 5 - 6 - 7. If you enjoyed what you have seen here, give a shout out to Doug!



*Giant Gorillas, Dinosaurs, Serpents, & Two Dudes....  There is a common thread of what I have been posting the last few weeks here at Stop Motion Works (read earlier SMW news); Robert A. Howell, H. Springer, & Brett Piper are about in their mid-thirties to over 40 years old. To you teenagers or twenty somethings, the world does not revolve around you even though mainstream media advertising pre-occupied with focusing on the youth culture. 

So, we got two more, 40+ year old kids  'Representing'  creature style Stop Motion!! One is a die-hard King Kong fan and his name is Eric Kessler. He apparently, digs Kong so much, that he commited $$$ paying for custom fabricated Stop Motion puppets!  Here is a recent spotlight article about Eric.He is not a professional or experienced Stop Motion Animator, but I give him high points for his enthusiasm & perserverance in pursuing his LUV of Stop Motion. I am confused about Eric's YouTube page KingKongKessler because not all his animations are posted there, but instead, posted under other YouTube profiles/pages,danarrow & shran33. Eric, why don't you just post all your animations under KingKongKessler?

The other Stop Motionist is Tim Smyth who, in his early days has done much ol' school Harryhausen-esque type stop motion using Super 8mm movie film format & classic in-camera compositing & effects. No computers and no Stop Motion framegrabbers. I do not know much about Tim, but I think he has done some professional stop motion work doing commercials (not sure). Take a look at his animated short Fish Tale done some years ago, shot using Super 8mm movie film. This is a recent Stop Motion test, CyKong, I think shot with DV camcorder. Also at his YouTube page Tims44, more examples of his much earlier Super 8mm Stop Motion.

I would suggest to Eric and Tim, to perhaps consider publishing some kind of online portfolio page so that the core information about you is somewhat consolidated  or centralized on the internet. Also, cross posting at specialized online venues such as, at the new Stop Motion Magic Network and you got StopMoShorts where one can upload a few Stop Motion examples. 05.25.08

*Wireless SD Memory Card Accessory for Stop Motion? ... I happened to visit the DarkMatters blog and saw enthusiastic interest about some new gadget called Eye-Fi wireless camera memory card. At this time, I do not use a Digital Still Cam for Stop Motion. For now, DV camcorder is sufficient for Stop Motion sketching, practicing, tests, etc.. From my POV, for Stop Motion, the Eye-Fi wireless card appears to be an optional minor convenience. Stop Motion is already a slow creation process anyway, and so, how much overall time/labor savings will the Eye-Fi card give you? What about reliability of the card? I had previously been aware of Eye-Fi and first saw it posted at the messageboard back in Oct '07 & just last month. A possible BIG negative about Eye-Fi is the slow transfer rate that is mentioned in some reviews. I recall, that the Eye-Fi company is vague about the transfer specs. Read this CNET review.

If you are into mega Hi-Res Raw Image capture, sorry ... Eye-Fi captures JPEGS only.  I do not claim computer technical expertise and I am not clear about requirements for this card. It seems, you must first have some kind of wireless Wi-Fi internet connection set-up before you can use the Eye-Fi? So that means, in addition to purchasing the Eye-Fi, you also got to spend more $$$ for the wireless net set-up? The card comes in 3 versions but it looks like, that their HOME Eye-Fi is the one if you just want to wirelessly transfer from the camera to your computer only.

This is antithetical to my KISS philosophy (Keep It Simple Stupid) by introducing an extra layer of dependence on a circuitous method/route for just merely transferring images from the camera to your computer which is only a few feet away. Perhaps, a more direct route-path, might be some kind of BlueTooth wireless method? (not wireless Internet connection) Unfortunately, briefly looking around, BlueTooth enabled cameras or BT wireless cam adapters does not seem available yet? IF I were to get a Digital Still Cam (but I am not, at this time), I would stay with a reliable & secure   hard wired connection from camera to computer. At $80. to $100.+ for an Eye-Fi, it is only available as a 2-GB card. If you have a fixation into capturing Xtreme Hi-Resolution, the card can fill up FAST. You can get regular 2-GB SD memory storage cards for as little as $15. and an 8-GB card for $49. Hey, I am only the messenger, so do not kill me! Of course, I would be curious to see if this Eye-Fi would work glitch-free for the long haul, under hard Stop Motion use. I will send orders to my SMW News Spies, to monitor/track  DarkMatters.

 How to set-up & download to computer. My eyes are starting to glaze over. 05.25.08


* Robert A. Howell presents GATOR (with a Southern touch) .... A home brewed Internet Harryhausen-esque fantasy short, I serendipitously found. Robert has YouTubed various other videos, but mostly home video type skits. His GATOR Stop Mo short appears to me, to be his first attempt at Stop Motion. If so, then I think he has done a pretty good job. Most, at the Stop Mo message boards, seem to be into Clay, Stylized, or ALL Puppet Stop Motion; and even though they admire & respect Uncle Ray, many probably do not venture into creature style Harryhausen'ish Stop Motion. Hey, that's Groovy. Stop Mo has plethora of flavors and whatever floats your Boat. Okay, you might critique that Robert's  animation might be a bit stiff and maybe, the chromkeying a little rough around the edges. 'Judge not lest ye be judged'. What have you completed? I am looking at the Energy & spirit of his work. Most importantly, something he created all his own from start to finish; campy, fun, entertaining. I especially dig the actors. Well, they are not professional thespians, but just regular 'folks' with no pretense and just getting into it & enjoying it. 

Robert created a Monster on the Loose story and did the producing & directing all himself; and of course, executed all the Stop Mo & other effects. I am guessing, that he was mostly concerned with doing it 'cost effectively' and he knew his end product distribution. He used a regular ol' DV camcorder (good enough format for intended end purpose). It seems, he has good, general dexterity & technical skills that enabled him to tackle this, with the help of some information he researched online. In Robert's behind the scenes clip, he states that he found an eye bolts hinge joint/wooden dowel armature 'how-to' from an online article. I am guessing that he might be referring to an Article Stop Motion Works has had online for a few years. It is from an old Cinemagic magazine. In addition, he used Stop MotionMaker for the Stop Motion & other special effects.

Check out Gator. Again, his first time doing it. I give it a strong thumbs up . When clicking on links, video will appear above, then click on lower left corner arrow button, to 'Play'. Trailer Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Building Gator. If you want to see it again, or a larger version, you can go directly to Robert's YouTube page05.18.08

* Stop Motion Works online matters, updates, housekeeping, etc. ... SMW has been internet active, about 8+ years since mid-2000, but started creating & archiving news in '02. Only true Stop Motionists will stick it out and some of you have. Others, maybe so-so or just a mild side interest and have dropped out or abandoned us. Not a criticism but a factual observatiThe Day the Earth Stood Stillon. Stop Motion is only for the die-hard passionate. This is not a mere hobby but maybe a way of life or philosophy. A metaphor maybe to slow down and look at Life One Frame at a Time. Something is globally changing, we are moving excessively too fast. I hate it! Science fiction is becoming reality? I just wonder what kind of society/world the children will inherit from us. Perhaps we need some greater power (1 & 2) to intervene and jolt us into reality! We have to hunker down and be prepared for the unforseen. Simplify & do not be so consumerist dependent. We had a brief heat wave in Bay Area here and some momentary power black & brown-outs. How vulnerable we are without electricity. Technology our supposed saviour, but can be delicate & fragile infrastructure especially when we put total blind reliance on it. 

For those of you who are not website or internet savvy, for about a month, Stop Motion Works has gone RSS Feed Syndicated. Click on the orange Feed Icon  to access it. A little extra work for me to implement it manually each time I do the SMW News but it seems that this Feed stuff is the internet trend. Those who use Google's free Blogger, whatever you post, is syndicated automatically. What is RSS Feed Syndication you ask? Read brief summary. Essentially, it is for those who are compulsive Blog readers and they need their Fix to check out & read many blogs. Because, some people who blog do not post regularly, if you subscribe to a syndication feed through a Feed Reader, you will get notification of blog or news posts, then you go directly to their blogs and get your fill of Blog-O-Rama.

More of LIO's Observational Mind: I have a reasonably high speed broadband internet cable connection, but even with that, sometimes it is not necessarily faster. WebsiteWhat is the meaning of Life? Where are we heading to? designers, Webmasters, & marketeers, creating excessively bloated websites with way too much bells & whistles, especially, overkill using FLASH. STOP IT and Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS rule)! I have received ocassional minor random criticism about Stop Motion Works and why it is not fancy-schmancy slick with the latest website gimmicks. I create this website myself with basic Html coding, simplified navigation & basic design layout that will be easier for the global audience and quick download access.  For me, it is about the most effective relaying of information. I do not give a Rat's Ass about slickification or the flavor of the month, overweight website designs. Yes, I sometimes even get criticism for a black background website! Well, screw you! Do not lay your mental idiocyncrasies on me. You have black color phobia and need help. For me, white or too light colored websites causes eyestrain after staring at screen for awhile.  Dark'ish color scheme is soothing on vision. Also, think about this: When you go to movie theater or watch TV, do you not turn down or off, the room lights? Same principle. A dark website conveys same movie theatrical ambiance where the images are the focus. A light colored website is like watching a movie in bright daylight.  PEOPLES, where is your commonsense!

Other website notes; I added a few additional blogger links (scroll to bottom of page) Kevin MacLean, Ken A. Priebe and Andrew Jaremko. In addition, Kevin just posted a YouTube page & that has some cool vintage behind the scenes video clips ClayMationKid. For you other, supposed 'bloggers', you better start saying something or else, I am going to think about removing your links . Also, Mr. Cinemagic, John Dods links may have changed. If you have him listed on your site or blog, update John's link.  Finally; it looks like Marc Spess has gone big time and starting a MySpacey-like social kind of network, but niche for Stop Motion. It is called Stop Motion Magic. He actually, even had a $custom$ Webhosting Server unit built for him, then it was transported to, and now 'server' operating out of New York CITY .  Well, Marc has been around the net just a little longer than me, so I cannot 'rag on him', too much . He has always been active with maintaining his website & an involved moderator at his messageboard.

I am blogged-out, spent. The things I (under appreciated) DO for YOU (in my solo quest to help keep Stop Motion somewhat exciting and/or interesting, and in the public consciousness! 05.18.08


* 'War of the Worlds' Obsession from Toyman Studios aka H. Springer .... Now here is a little sleeper incubating at YouTube for what appears to be a long time but looks like ignored or overlooked by the masses and Stop Motionists. Not cool or War of the Worldsexciting enough for the internet weaned ADD adolescents? No viral spread of this, however I likes what he has done. This dude seems to have OCD about War of the Worlds As the name Toyman Studios suggests, he specializes in Stop Motion animating TOYs within some reasonably good miniature sets or chromakeyed backgrounds. Ocassionally he does cutaways to ol' live action docu footage and intermixed with his scenes (interesting technique), does not do any actual detailed lip-syncing and mostly uses subtitles. Combo techniques such  as some post production effects of  explosions, compositing, and some cut-out animation methods.

Overall, very docu-drama style. No Robot Chicken style spoofing. What also contributes to the docu-ambience, is his use of excerpts from the original War of the Worlds, 1938 radio broadcast. It enhances that foreboding feel of fear. Even though, he uses all toy animation, he attempts to do it somewhat subtle & realistic, and surprisenly, I actually got immersed in it with something that is obviously UN-Real, as these are mere 'Toy figures & Models'?! The animation is not hyper slickified smooth and it appears that he did not use a Digital Still Camera, but instead, maybe a DV camcorder or even a Webcam!! I know, this might cause some of you Hi-Resolution Elitists to flinch or recoil??  I like, the Rough around the edges. It can contribute qualities of surrealness or otherworldlinessI am looking at the overall impression and impact it makes on me. The guy does reasonably well editing & visual storytelling. This low budget technique would also serve well as a moving/animatic storyboard, as a prelude for a bigger budget feature.

Toyman Studios, YouTube ID name is AONL. He does not have any  profile description about himself, except for his age, and also, as far as I can tell, does not respond to any comments. I picture AONL as sort of a recluse, closeted, unusual (Bruce Bickford type), working solo, pumping these things out.

At his YouTube page, it is kind of confusing, the order of the video chapters. He has different series versions of his interpretation of War of the Worlds. For your convenience (free @ no charge), I put them in sequence. So, after you watch one chapter, click your browser's back button and return to SMW here, to get link to next chaptersWar of the Worlds 1897: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4. If that was not enough for you; he did more: War of the Worlds, Part 1 series: Chapters 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 . There's more at his YouTube page. This guy is nuts but prolific! You need to watch this in late evening, when all is quiet, turn off room light and crank up the volume and/or wear your headsets. Also, put on your eyeglasses (if needed) to view the small screen. Tips to enhance your 'viewing experience' .

 Continuing Chapters, War of the Worlds, Part 2 series: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4  EDIT: 05.12.08

* 2008 Summer's mega-million $$$ Flicks competing for your attention .... Of course, no Stop Motion but Hollywood Suits always hated it.  The Stop Motion creation/production process and/or other former Traditional special effects methods, is now considered archaic by the Suits. It is antithetical and does not fit in how Tinsel Town likes to manufacture their products via the highly controllable Almighty God: The Computer. Even Uncle Ray had a tough time selling Stop Motion back in the more innocent days before Digital Schmigital CGI. IMO, Stop Motion Harryhausen-esque mayHollywood never happen, mainstream.  Maybe some of the All Puppet films, like the Nightmares Before Christmases or Aardman's works will make it to the major market, but unfortunately, not Uncle Ray's brand which I think will be reserved for other non-mainstream venues, for niche audiences, something similar to what Brett Piper does, however, he specializes in the very B-Movie genre. As I always preached, 'Do not look to the LA-LA Land Suits to support or promote Stop Motion'.

Mainstream ultra million $$$ flicks also intended for worldwide audience. They are not yet jaded by 'Hollywood Products' and still go GAH-GAH for it. In marketing there's even an Art & Specialty to making Movie Trailers, to supposedly make your mouth profusely froth with bubbly saliva, and get you orgasmically excited about the movie. Some trailer techniques:  MTV-style  hyper fast quick edits blasting you with montage of micro-second scenes,  the dizzying camera moves, the movie preview announcer voice, ad infinitum.  Also, there is a Golden Trailer Awards. Some of this Summer's Flick trailers, up the Yin-Yang (or up the Wah-Zoo, if you prefer): Iron Man, May 2Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, July 2 - Speed Racer, May 9 - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, May 16 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, May 22 - The Incredible Hulk, June 13 - Batman: The Dark Knight, July 18. I only listed the genre flicks primarily & demographically targeted to the young testorene-oozing, homosapien male species.

Someone just reminded me about Coraline, which is Stop Motion, however, that is scheduled to be released in February, 2009. Also, the Hollywood Biz power players are not producing or backing this animation feature. The Stop Motion Spirit and Force is from Phil Knight & Company (in Oregon-USA, far away from Tinsel Town) 05.14.08

* 'A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell' (1991) .... Just received this in my email bag, "Brett Piper is out there, trying in his own way, to keep Harryhausen Spirit alive with direct to DVD flicks. He does the best he can, with almost zero budgets and Xtreme short production schedules. I met Piper on a seven hour bus trip and he told me his name at the end. We discussed films and more and he is a fascinating, self-effacing guy.  I  really want to correspond with him and hope he contacts me thru my  e-mail.  I can hope.  In the mean time is there materials that touches on him?"

So, you sick & tired of the depressing news, that surrounds us and everywhere?? Escape, I say. Prepare yourself .... buy bulk bags of  beans, rice, loads of toilet paper, shortwave radio, etc and learn self-survival techniques. Also, another escape tool ..... HUMOR & LAUGHTER. There is anecdotal documentation that it is 'Healing'.  Screw the Bureaucrats & Principalities of Powers that are causing the Societal downfall .  You should check out Nymphoid Barbarian. It may not be available at your local movie rental house but NetFlix may have it.  The only way to watch Nymphoid Barbarian, is with the alternate soundtrack narrated by Brett Piper, the Ray Harryhausen of B Movie Fun.  Brett is hilarious giving his  play by play commentary and behind the scenes about the making of Nymphoid Barbarian. Not only funny but some general, cool revelations about the traditional special effects methods he used. I believe NB was shot on 16mm Film. Lots of in-camera special effects, forced perspective, matte paintings, hand puppetry, and of course Stop Motion.

I posted about Brett in the past, but I feel the need to do it again, because I CAN, and it's my website. Here is Stop Motion Works earlier post on Brett. A clip from Arachnia (2003), Shock-O-Rama (2005), & Bacterium (2006). Not for the kiddies. Mature audiences. Also, here is, about, a 12 year old article.  Hey, I know it's not Arty Farty high brow, and we are talking about B Movie cult/campy stuff. There are no rules and I for one, getting bored with movie biz mainstream  homogenization. Preferring to see independent works that's not gazillion $$ budget and instead they have soul, creative energy & spirit, resourcefulness, etc.

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