Thursday, February 3, 2011

Seven Henrietta Street

I'm not gonna lie: I'm really critical when there's a new video/animation/short film on Youtube or Vimeo that everybody seems to be talking about. Not just any video, but those that are very similar to my style and aesthetic. Why? Because I either realize that I have competition out there, and, especially as a student, I have to work hard to make sure my ideas are completely original and my execution that much stronger. Or I know that I could have done a better job, if only they knew to call me. Haha. Especially when these videos involve stop motion. Especially when that stop motion is pixilation (animating a real person like a puppet, frame by frame).

I have a running list of Good Stop Motion Music Videos And Related Shorts, featuring just that. Videos that implement my favorite method put to music or telling a great story. I also have another list: Bad Stop Motion Videos That Everyone Mistakenly Thinks Are Somehow Good. I won't share this list. It's more of a personal note to myself to not sell out, to always do my best, and to always be original. Granted, most of these have some admirable quality to them, be it the story, the lighting, the concept, the set, the budget I wish I had... So they're bookmarked, favorited, and often liked. Even though I don't really like them as a whole.

For the most part, the biggest problem is the animation. The actors (because pixilation is suddenly becoming more popular, something that I have mixed feelings about) often don't know how to move incrementally. It's a hard thing, I won't lie. But that doesn't mean it should look like they're having a seizure. There's really no excuse for that. Besides the actors, the frame rate is another factor that easily drives me crazy. Sometimes they're slow enough that they should be presented as a slideshow, a series of photographs, rather than an animation. Sometimes they're a little faster than that, but just enough to create the actor-seizure-phenomenon I am so fond of.

So let me clear something up for you right now.
And for all you photographers out there, if you feel the need to move things incrementally, please shoot for a minimum of 10 frames per second. Otherwise, please stick with your strength and create beautiful photographs for me to favorite on Flickr. Oh, and a montage of scenes with pretty girls with typewriters and teacups and other kitschy items does not automatically qualify as brilliant. It can work, and I happen to be fond of my Smith Coronas and strawberry print cup-and-saucers. But please include a [unique] narrative.

Alright, now that I'm done ranting, you should be able to see why it's so exciting to me to find a respectable video. One that presents some competition for me. One that pushes me to exceed my own expectations. One that encourages me to be a better artist. One like Seven Henrietta Street, made for Kate Spade. Look at the stop motion details (my favorite thing to add to a piece). Look at that frame rate. Thank you Kinga Burza for proving to me that decent frame rates do still exist.

Of course, when I come across videos like this, my brain explodes a little bit (in the good way) and I end up with oodles of ideas scrawled across sketchbook pages and Moleskine calendars and Post-Its and hands and any other patches of exposed skin. And I need to make something. Now. Maybe I can fit in some animation sketches over the weekend. I've been dying to start doing little experiments in After Effects. But nothing satisfies me like moving something one frame at a time.

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