. fopspeen
fopspeen moving pictures birdy bittervrug
  Diek Charles
frame - films - festivals - commerce ~
about us - contact us - cv - links

Sanna's Garden >
Little Bang >

Stop Motion Pro >

Stop Motion Animation on a Shoestring

Stop Motion Animation is a generic term for the cinematic process by which objects or poseable puppets are brought to life on screen, by breaking up the object/figure's motion into increments and filming one frame of film per increment. When the final film is projected, the object/puppet appears to move of its own volition.

Both Sanna’s Garden and Little Bang were filmed using this technique.
In Sanna’s Garden, due in part to a lack of funding, but also lack of suppliers of stop-motion armatures in South Africa, we had to develop our own puppets with what material was available. The puppets were constructed out of wood, with joints made of plastic engineering conduits, then covered with artificial fur or cloth, and painted. Although this method caused some maneuverability problems in especially the smaller characters, it did add to the specific character of the series. We learned as we went along, and shot the first episode with a grant from the Critical Ecology Partnership Fund. After the second episode was completed we realized that our animating skills had improved so significantly that we would have to redo episode 1 completely. It was a very long deja-vu experience re-shooting 8 minutes of animation frame by frame.

In Little Bang the characters are more ‘object’ than ‘puppet’. Conceived and constructed as sculptures, these artworks by sculptor Marinda du Toit were very hard to animate, as their poseability were limited. Facial expressions were fixed, and often dictated the mood of a scene. The narrative was therefore developed around the characters, taking their limitations in terms of movement into account when choosing camera angles, and planning shots.

The entire film was shot in two months with two animators, in an actual garden shed in winter, as budget constraints did not allow the construction of an indoors set. Shooting could only be done at night, for the sake of lighting.

We use a digital still camera for filming, and found Stop Motion Pro an invaluable piece of software in the making of Little Bang. Due to above mentioned manipulation difficulties, it would not have been possible to make this film without it.


Sanna's Garden
Sanna's garden (detail)
play clip  p

Little Bang
Little Bang (detail)
Play Clip p

Update 20 August 2007, www.fopspeen.co.za, editor: Diek Grobler

All material on this website is copyrighted to Fopspeen Moving Pictures and its' artists.