Sunday, October 22, 2006

Shout out to HerHair

Just a quick shout out to pimp my latest discovery. Bart Van de Plas is doing stopmotion in Brussels Belgium, and while he's just getting a good start on hois project, it looks like it's going to be fantastic! Check out his blog at HerHair. Also be sure to look at his link to Beast Animation. He's done some work for them, and WOW!!!! what an impressive trailer they have on their site!


herself said...

Nice!! The trailer was very well edited indeed. And I can't wait to see the short with the insects/moths. I think it's called, Een Hand - Part of the "Dicht/vorm" project by SOIL. (Based on a poem by Bart Moeyaert.) Holy cow, that looks like everything I'd hope for 1/2L.! w00t!

herself said...

You didn't mention it here so I don't know if you've seen the insect film that Bart mentions early this month? It wasn't Een Hand I was after but rather Le Cid. I just saw it via his link and I have to say it was as I had feared.

This is beautiful work. It may well be far far better Than I'll ever be able to do.

It's great filmmaking. It makes sense on many levels. The fundamental context of insects telling the story is right. The characters are well realized and well fabricated for that concept. It has the right balance of wit and drama. The execution excellent, the direction and pacing first rate. I imagine the story boards were well thought out for this to be the result. The filming superb. It had a film look, including depth of field shifts yet the LARGE screen of 25 MINUTES of glory downloaded instantly and played flawlessly. What kind of compression are they using, I wonder. The animation performances were sensitive and mind bogglingly complex.

It's good to know that this kind of art is being made today. Thanks Mike.

Darkstrider said...

I gotta disagree on a couple of points. Actually just one I guess. Yes, everything looked fantastic - highly professional. But is it just me, or did it seem an awful lot like A Bug's Life in french? And that brings us up to the thing that BUGS me the most! ;)

It's been a long time since high school french, and I doubt I could have understood much of it even then. But I feel like, especially with an animated film, I should be able to understand what's going on even if it's in a language I don't know. I don't want to see a lot of 'talking head' shots, no matter how perfectly the lip sync is done! There were long scenes where characters just stood and talked (and some of them have pretty annoying voices!). I imagine those scenes aren't much fun to animate either. I want VISUAL STORYTELLING through pantomime and use of props. I get the feeling this story was told entirely through dialogue... in which case it might as well be a radio play!

I've been looking once again at the book Writing with Pictures by Uri Schulevitz, a well-regarded classic for anyone interested in the art of storytelling, even if it DOESN'T involve pictures (and especially if it does, like children's books, animated films, or even real live feature films). He continually stresses the importance of no repeating what the pictures say with words and vise verse. Nor should you tell the entire story with one - making the other obsolete. In fact, you should tell the story visually as much as possible, and the words should add to it, though at times it's necessary for words to carry parts of the story.

Darkstrider said...

I jus went back and watched it again, to make sure I still feel the same, and I do. However, I must say, the puppets, the clothes, the sets, EVERYTHING is incredibly beautiful! I mean to the absolute highest standards I've ever seen.... as high as Corpse Bride (witn nicer costumes!). And the ANIMATION!!! Wow! Breathtaking! At times it did become visual.... especially during dance sequences and a few action scenes, and then I was riveted (though I still wish I knew what was happening).

A film like this is way beyond anything i could aspire to make. I could never make anything that looks that polished and professional... i leave that to the pros! For my work I prefer a nice grungy homespun look that allows mistakes and ugly spots to be part of the rustic charm. And I rely on the idea that a well-told tale makes up for deficiencies in fabricatrion and animation etc.

As Nick says, I've seen films made with crappy puppets that held my attention because of the story, and I've seen incredibly beautiful films that couldn't hold my interest.

It's taken me a long time to come to a good understanding of visual storytelling, and I 'got it' largely through Nick, by reading his always illuminating comments on peoples' work, and by watching his films, which are like a college course in visual storytelling.

sven said...

How've you gotten hold of Nick's work? The clips I've seen, I think they've all been short little things on your other site.

herself said...

Points well taken, all of them, and I agree. I will only add that the French LOVE WORDS!! Paul and I joke about our French friends he knows and works with that after everything is decided and worked out and everyone is in formal total consensus (the end of the American process) The French will then tend to say, ok, NOW we can discuss it!!! Ha ha. We notice they take hours to do anything; eat a meal, make love to their women, finish a story--sheesh. Americans? bing, bang, boom--nuf said. (Legal Disclaimer: Paul is not a native American. ;-)) So, in that sense, Le Cid is positively Tom and Jerry!

The language issue is something that has always been a huge matter for me. Ever since I was a kid and watched the Czech and other foreign stop motion shorts on telly. I felt the language, either spoken or written on props stopped my relationship to the film every time. And I decided that when I made films they needed to be able to be shown and loved around every nation without a single barrier due to their language. I wanted someone from Asia to enjoy it as much as someone from Israel may, etc.

I am surprised, yet very relieved to hear you say Le Cid and its ilk are not attainable by someone as obviously brilliant as yourself. Now I don't have to feel like the only brown shoe at a black tie affair.

Darkstrider said...

Sven, even in Nick's brief StopMoShorts films he demonstrates good solid storytelling technique. If you go through and watch a bunch of random StopMoShorts entries and then watch Nick's you can feel the difference. Most people leave things unexplained or have things suddenly just sort of happen without setting it up earlier in the film, but never Nick. Even in the ultra-short time limit he always sets things up and follows through.... cause and effect.

Bart said...

I had a great time helping out on this film and it was very interesting seeing it all come together.
The director has a history in Theatre, and Artdirection and this was her first animation project. The storyboardpannels were real graphic pieces of art and her visual vision of the film was strong.
However; She didn't have any experiance in telling a story trough the Animation/Film medium and you can see that. Also the style of the film was to be far more dark and obscure. The project was presented to me as a feast of sex and murder, and instead it became a talking drama. The french like long dialogues, it's in their nature, and if darker the film would have been stronger and more intense.
The people at Beast Animation tried to film this project as a film, rather then as a table with some moving puppets on. I think they succeeded on this level.
They animated about 6 seconds of film a day and the whole project had a big challange to it in the sence that they had to break up the entire set in the middle of production to move it to France to shoot the second half. This had to do with split budgets in the co-production arangements. It was quite a task to do all this without damaging stuff.
I like the film, although it's a pitty the 'edge' fell of during production...