Mar 17, 2011

Adventures of Explorer Jim - Breakdown

Hey everyone!
So there's nothing that pleases me more than having a fun shoot and being super-proud of the outcome, especially when it's something extremely random like the video I'm talkin' about today: Adventures of Explorer Jim!

So here's the video if you haven't seen it::

So I was at my pal Shuria's house and we was bored out of our minds. His younger brother, Farah, found the doll which was for an adventurer (he had lots of tools but the young kids lost 'em). So we was talking like how he'd be an awesome super-hero then we found the red bulb thing and joked that it'd be a snake and they'd have an epic fight.

The next thing we knew, I was out looking for a jungle scene and Farah was breaking out the camera and tripod taking test shots:

That last one was used to make the poster:

First off, we weren't very good at photography (We shot on Shutter Priority with ISO 1600. I'm sure all photographers just flinched!) which is why you see varying exposures and dark images even in the final video.

So anyway we found a good location in their back yard and started shooting. We used a Canon 400D with the standard 18-55mm kit lens. We also had no clue how animating a stop motion is done (Shuria disappeared and he did the stopmotion on Facebook) so we decided to free style and just shoot small movements.
Our only reference was quickly moving back and forth between images to see if the movement was correct.
So on we went for a few hours, getting more and more tired as the sun set rapidly, only to realize about half-way (where the snake appears) that we hadn't really thought of an ending...

...and that's when my slightly insane mind came into play!
"Why don't they just become friends?"

We did so. Headed into the house and behind the house to do the rest of the video.

In this frame, that's my trouser (I held the camera) and Farah's foot. At about this point in the shoot we got really tired and wanted to get the shoot over with. This frame is actually in the final video, but no one seemed to notice

Shortly afterwards, I animated everything in After Effects (which I barely knew how to use at the time) and
I headed into my recording software "Audacity", which is free, and recorded all the voices and the last song all myself. After about 3 hours, it was all done.

Now, if you're wondering why we was tired after such a shoot, well, the final scene used about 100 frames, but we had to do re-shoots, trash certain frames and so on. Trial and error can be soooo painful to the brain!!

But I can't say enough how much fun we had experimenting! Stop motions may be stressful, but nothing beats the feeling of watching your final video and your characters coming to life!
But anyway we learnt a lot during the making of this video, and I'm sure the next stopmotion will be smooth and awesome, coz we're now planning Explorer Jim 2. Stay tuned for more info on this ;-D

Have you ever tried a stop motion? How did it go??

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