Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Observing Human Nature, part 1

One of the most common themes in short films is observing human nature. These films can be humorous (when poking fun at our eccentricities), contemplative (when examining our more serious sides), or even depressing (when confronting the darker aspects of humanity)... but they are almost always thought-provoking.

Alarm (2009)

This hilarious animated film comes from the Mesai animation group in South Korea. A young man faces a situation that many of us can sympathize with, at least to some extent. But, fortunately, most of us don't have the extreme reaction that this guy does.


Perfection (2004)

This live-action film is a cautionary tale about the obsessive pursuit of perfection... using the children's game of the same name. From ZuZu Films, written & directed by Karen Lin.


Empathy (2016)

This animated film gently examines how we often see only what we want to see, instead of what is really there. It was created at Canada's Vancouver Film School.

Monsterbox (2012)

In this heartwarming animated film from the Bellecour Écoles D´Art in France, a shopkeeper must deal with a troublesome customer... and her, er, pet monsters.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Live-Action Animation

Creative short films can be divided into two general categories: traditional live-action films where the actors play out their roles in real time in front of a movie/video camera, and animated films where the film is created one frame at a time using various artistic techniques (drawings, paintings, computer generated graphics, etc.).

It is possible, however, to create an animated film using live actors, via the stop motion technique. In a stop motion film, the actors and other props are carefully positioned, and then a single still photograph is taken which will become one frame of the final film. The actors and props are then moved slightly and another still photograph is taken. This continues until all of the frames for the film have been photographed, which can require several thousand photographs even for a short film.

Actors who appear in a stop motion film can find the experience tedious and uncomfortable, but the resulting films can be quite startling.


Unfortunately, there is no information available for this quirky little film.

DI-RECT – Still Life

Created by photographer Mark Janssen and director Mink Pinster, this film was inspired by the song "Still Life" by the Dutch band DI-RECT, and uses that song as its background music. Over 3,000 photographs were taken to create this film, with actress Sigrid ten Napel, her hair, and the various props and background elements carefully repositioned between each photo.

Kina Grannis – In Your Arms

This incredible music video for "In Your Arms" features an animated background created with thousands of multi-colored jelly beans, with singer Kina Grannis performing and interacting with the background art. It was all done with stop motion photography: the singer had to lay on a sheet of glass above the jelly beans and be carefully posed for each of the nearly 2,500 photos that were needed to create the film.

The second video takes you behind the scenes to show just how this film was made.

By the numbers:
22 months
2,460 frames
1,357 hours
30 people
2 ladders
1 still camera
288,000 jelly beans


This film, made from over 4,000 still photographs, was created by students at a Japanese high school for their school's cultural festival. A cultural festival is an event in which the public is invited to visit the school to view exhibits and entertainments prepared by the various classes.

There are no subtitles for this film, so there are small parts of the film that you won't be able to understand (unless you happen to be fluent in Japanese), but that shouldn't prevent you from enjoying this crazy and inventive film.