Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Saturday, 27 March 2010
Friday, 26 March 2010
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
1. The commercial took four weeks to shoot
2. This is the first time Aardman has animated the new Penny character – who is a call centre operator for npower
3. The material on TV was added after the character animation in the post production stage although it was shot at the same time as the rest of the commercial. It features a haunted house built from foam core, an animatable door that slams open in the "we’ve created a monster" shot, and extra gravestones and trees for the foreground
4. The flying bats in the opening shots were produced by one of our 2D artists and were then added to the TV footage
5. The opening shot of Wallace & Gromit watching the TV was created using 10 layers or plates, which were then combined in post production to create the finished sequence. The plates included the character animation pass plus various plates for different elements, the lamp in the foreground (which features sheep as a reference to the previous npower commercial "Insheepsulation"), and various lighting plates to create flicker from the TVs
6. The smart energy monitor was designed to make it fit into Wallace & Gromit’s world. The real monitor looks very modern so we had to "Wallace-ify" it by making it look metallic with rivets.
7. Aardman used 31 TV’s in the commercial that took a day to rig into position. Some of them had miniature lights built into them which helped them look more like working televisions
8. Gromit’s shadow as he walks toward Wallace with the smart energy monitor is in homage to Nosferatu
9. In preparation for the shoot Wallace was given a full makeover - his trousers were fixed, his tank-top repainted and he was also given clean teeth and new eyes. Gromit was also given a new nose and eyes
10. The commercial is the first to feature the new npower logo
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Friday, 19 March 2010
Charlotte Boisson, Julien Fourvel, Pascal Han-Kwan, Tristan Reinarz and Fanny Roche "Get Out" (2009)
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Breakfast directed by Royal College of Art student Kristina Marie Hofmann takes a well trodden path by a different route. The theme is mankind exploiting animals for food. The means is a stop motion film ostensibly aimed at children. It features one of those cubed picture puzzles, the rotation of which form an image. The cubes lay on a table in a child’s room, surrounded by stuffed toys. James Manning’s voice-over is warm and inviting as he tells the tale of Harriet, Elliot and Arthur who live in a picturesque farm, an enticing farmyard idyll where Harriet the Hen scratches for insects in the soil. Of course she doesn’t. A reshuffling of the blocks and Harriet is seen cramped with 50,000 pals in a windowless shed. Shedding weight and feathers she manages to squeeze out one last egg. Mirko Beutler’s close photography and Tobias Eiving’s attractive music underscore a hard hitting satire tracing the real lives of hen, pig and cow. The blocks themselves are particularly well crafted, with clever animation from Kristina, Page Tsou and Ulrika Axen. Kristina was inspired by the horror of a little girl when confronted with the reality of killing a caught fish. One of my daughters asked me if chicken was really chicken and has not eaten meat since. Neither has her mother. Kristina’s shared website is here. The farmyard and nature sounds, by the way, come from the music player conveniently stored on the nursery shelves.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Continuing the theme of birds from yesterday are two movies completely different in style and tone. I suppose they share more than this for the birds are invisible to unknowing eyes. Linde Faas’s Vogel is quite extraordinarily interesting. I wrote about her style yesterday and that drawing ability is again to the fore. Linde features a boy and his pet bird, Tommie, who fell from the sky, hurt his wing and was nursed back to full health. You can see him flying around, drinking from the glass, perched on the little boy’s shoulder. The adult questioning the boy is unable to see the bird. But we can, can’t we? The conclusion is both apt and novel. Vogel is a most unusual short from an animator with a gift. The link is to a subtitled version. Director Alban Lelièvre asks another question in the funny Do Penguins Fly? (42mb via Computer Arts). It’s not a find as approximately 2,000,000 hits on YouTube since 2006 testifies. I’ve been meaning to write about it for some time. Quick summary: guy with camera wishes to photograph penguins flying but the darn things don’t do it on camera. There are few surprises about the plot but the cock crow is and I’m sure that was not a penguin at the end. Fabrice Senia animated the accomplished 3D piece.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
There is a moment in Linde Faas’s tranquil film, Volgens de Vogels, (According to Birds) as a dandelion seed floats to the earth, when one begins to unwind. There are other moments to get horizontal: water drips to a pool and ripples spread out, a leaf is blown gently upwards into the wintry treetops, or at the outset leaves settle into water. Oh and there are the birds. Linde’s movie is full of birds, the dawn hunting expedition as, with scarcely a murmur, an owl takes an insect on the wing, a heron and rooks, in close-up or as bent lines in sky. "I've always had a fascination for birds. The way they move is very strange, they seem in their own world, disconnected from ours." Linde eschews music. Her sound is a rustle of leaves or the birds calling out. She is an artist and a fine one at that with a sureness of touch. She animates her birds with a delicacy that is rare indeed. One of the comments on the YouTube link suggests turning up the volume. I concur adding only that I’d turn it up louder. No story, just a beauty and peace. The short is hand drawn on paper and was Linde's graduation film whilst at St. Joost Art Academy. More of her work in the week.
Monday, 15 March 2010
Saturday, 13 March 2010
A transition from black and white to colour is certainly not original though in Rémy M.Larochelle’s competition entry for a 30 second ad for Doritos he introduces the distinctive paprika colour of the product rather nicely. His Extravaganza has a pot bellied, conspicuously male, beastie creeping somewhat furtively through a forest in search of something paprika coloured to eat. Guess what it is? The forest is an interesting creation and there's a cheerful tune to accompany lunch. Well made and a wry sense of humour so I wish Rémy well.
Friday, 12 March 2010
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Lovers of classic animation should enjoy the second featured film by Zagreb director, Borivoj Dovnikovic. Made in 1966, Curiosity is an amusing study of human foibles. Set on a minimalist stage the lead character sits on the proverbial park bench watching the world go by. The world however is obsessed. It stops and has a peep at the large paper bag perched enigmatically on the vacant berth beside the often dozing man. A dog sniffs the package, children congregate to take a peek, a policeman inspects it, soldiers launch a military manoeuvre against the bag. The absurd is counterpointed with the mundane. A passing ship stops, passengers crane their many necks to take a look and the ship sinks. One passenger struggles ashore, steals a view, before returning to the water. The Zagreb School, as the Croatian animators of the time are known, produced a diverse collection of very fine and indeed striking films. Borivoj’s original short is essentially a single gag animation, finely executed but within the compass of one man or a small studio to produce. In its attitude to life’s absurdities it embraces the Yugoslavian zeitgeist of the times, a freedom to question as well as portray the sheer idiosyncrasy of life, institutions, man's behaviour. Bordo’s Learning To Walk provoked an email bemoaning the dearth of films like this today. I concur. Here we have animation in its purest form, intelligent, crisply drawn and animated, focused humour, adult.