Tuesday, July 25, 2006

13 Frames a day

Do you have what it takes? What it takes is patience.

The San Diego Natural History Museum invited Ray Harryhausen to make a presentation during his trip here for the San Diego Comic-Con. They have an exhibit running called Dinosaurs : Reel and Robotic so it kind of fits with their theme. Ray was there with a long time friend who shared the stage with him and kind of MC'd for the evening.

The event was held in the museums' theatre where Ray showed his Tortoise and the Hare film. A short he started in the 50's and finished in 2002 with the help of Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero. Ray talked a little about how the whole stop motion animation process works and shared some stories from his career. He then showed a highlight reel from his films and took questions from the audience.

The most surprising thing I learned was the extreme amount of patience Ray has. He mentioned that animating the skeleton fight sequence alone from Jason and the Argonauts took 4 months to film. Some days he only shot 13 frames of film. Yes that's right not even ONE second of animation for a whole days work. He didn't say but I am guessing that was a 10 hour day too. That scene still holds up today and is one of my favorite bits from his movies. This was all back in the days before frame grabbers, video assist etc., pretty amazing work.

Ray brought with him a skeleton from Jason and the small dino from Gwangi which still looked great and both puppets are still quite pose-able after all this time.
All in all it was a nice evening, Ray seemed to really enjoy the fans.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doll or Puppet?

Well sadly my Russian is non existent and I didn't want to try the babblefish thing. I found this nice site with some interesting puppets (dolls).
There is some interesting flash animations as well. This stuff seems perfect for stop motion.

Click on the title above "Doll or Puppet?" to go to the page then after the Flash loads Click on the little guy with the bird cage to see the dolls. There's a great old world feel to the craftsmanship and style.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"The Brothers Twin"

I have always enjoyed and been intrigued by Surrealist artwork, most people have seen Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” aka melting clocks and other Surrealist paintings. It was not until the careful viewing of “The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer” by the Brothers Quay that I looked further into their influences (they make it real easy)
If you are not a student of art history you may not realize that the whole Surrealist movement did not start in the art world at all. (I had no idea.) It is generally credited as being started by the French author and poet Andre Breton--Surrealism had its start in literature.

One of Breton’s mentors and friends actually coined the word and here is a quote from him:

“When a man tried to imitate walking he created the wheel, which does not resemble a leg. He thus performed an act of Surrealism without realizing it.”
-- Guillaume Apollinaire