announcement

Summer Classes for Advanced Teens, College Students, and Adult Artists

In August, a weekend intensive will be offered for those who want to learn semi-professional level stop-motion animation. This two-day workshop will cover the basic workflow of stop-motion animation using Dragonframe Stopmotion (software used in production of Paranorman and Coraline) and a Canon DSLR. We will make sample animations using various materials in both down-shooting (2D) and side-shooting (3D) setups. Our studio focuses on non-traditional stop-motion animation, that is, anything but model or puppet-based animation, therefore model-making will not be covered.

This workshop is perfect for those who are interested in expanding their repertoire in digital art. Stop-motion animation is a great way to add the handmade quality to digital animation and live action video, giving the work a richer and more personal feel.

To complete the production process, a follow up one-day workshop on postproduction  is offered on September 6.

Topics to be covered:

  • Setting up the animation station
  • Basics of Dragonframe Stopmotion
  • Working with DSLR
  • Common materials used in stopmotion animation
  • Basic workflow
  • Basic timing
  • Basic movement
  • Audio track
  • Working with X-sheet
  • Compositing with green screen
  • Animating in layers
  • Rotoscoping
  • Lighting

Topics not covered:

  • Details of model-making
  • Lip-synching
  • Advanced timing and movement
  • Postproduction (covered in a separate workshop)

Dates: August 23 and 24

Time: 9am to 4pm

Tuition: $240

Registration is limited to five. Deposit of $50 is required at the time of registration.

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announcement

OK Go Project

In July, we are offering two mini camps for students between age 12 and 21. They are intended for those who want to learn semi-professional level techniques, using Dragonframe Stop-motion, Final Cut Pro, and a Canon DSLR. In session 2, we will take on the amazing music video of OK Go, Here It Goes Again. We will recreate a part of the video, faithfully reproducing frame by frame in a technique called rotoscoping.

This is not for the faint of heart. We will be spending hours just to make a few seconds of footage. We will analyze every second of the original clip, make sets, plan the shoot, set up lighting and rigs. The good news is that we won’t spend any time editing sounds!

This is an on-going project we will be working on for the next year or two, with different groups of students. Each group decides on the material, technique, and style of the animation. Some may want to do it in clay, while others may want to interpret it with pipe cleaners. With each new group, the clip will become longer and richer with all different interpretations.

Students will learn the workflow of stop-motion animation, basics of filmmaking, become familiar with Dragonframe Stopmotion and Final Cut Pro X, and will have an HD animation clip to prove it.

The class is limited to four, so register early.

Dates: Monday, July 14 through Thursday, July 17

Time: 9:30am to 3:30pm

Tuition: $280 (a deposit of $50 is required at the time of registration)

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announcement

LOTR Rotoscope Project

In July, we are offering two mini camps, for students age between 12 and 21. They are intended for those who want to learn semi-professional level techniques, using Dragonframe Stop-motion, Final Cut Pro, and a Canon DSLR. In the session 1, we will recreate a scene from The Lord of the Rings with Lego, faithfully reproducing frame by frame in a technique called rotoscoping. We will have a few scenes to choose from, one of which is the beginning of this scene where Frodo is attacked by Shelob, the giant spider.

This is not for the faint of heart. It will require patience, attention to details, and cooperation. We will be spending hours just to make a few seconds of footage. We will analyze every second of the original clip, make sets, plan the shoot, set up lighting and rigs. The good news is that we won’t spend any time editing sounds!

Students will learn the workflow of stop-motion animation, basics of filmmaking, become familiar with Dragonframe Stopmotion and Final Cut Pro X, and will have an HD Lego animation clip to prove it.

The class is limited to four, so register early.

Dates: Monday, July 7 through Thursday, July 10

Time: 9:30am to 3:30pm

Tuition: $280 (a deposit of $50 is required at the time of registration)

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public events

Woodstock Meats Project

The Story of Woodstock Meats Project

The Woodstock Meats Project is one of our pilot projects in transitioning from after-school kids’ program to a community video production team. We are focusing on the potential of video and stop-motion animation production as a tool to bring our community together—kids with adults, artists with businesses, locals with globals. In this project, we asked Kevin Christofora of Woodstock Meats and Deli to let us make their promotional video. Kevin is a quintessential community guy. He is the president of the Mountain Valley Little League, has organized Kids’ New Year’s Eve Bash at the Bearsville Theater, among many other community events and activities. His store is an old-fashioned butcher and deli, where he carries local meats and produces as much as possible without any frills.

We matched Kevin with Marlon DuBois, a 6th grader from Bennett Elementary School, to write, direct, and edit this video. Marlon is a talented young artist who has a huge collection of videos he directed in his Youtube channel. He is funny and friendly, and works well in a spontaneous situation.

Kevin and Marlon at our first meeting

What started out as a simple, small project turned out to be a community video shoot, requiring a lot of extras to come out in the wee hours of still chilly April Sunday morning, to run in a mob on Woodstock’s Tinker Street. It seemed doable when Marlon came up with the idea, but 2 days before the mob shoot, we still had no idea how to convince people to come out. We took the easiest and fastest way, and posted a photo message (see above) on our Facebook page, and asked friends to share it. It was posted at night, and by next morning, the photo was already seen by more than a thousand people! Within 24 hours, the post was shared by 22 people and was seen by 2500 people.

 

In a brief meeting on Saturday, Marlon, Kevin and I all agreed that we had no idea what to expect, so we would just improvise as we go. The next morning, about 50 people showed up. Kevin brought boxes of doughnuts and gallons of apple cider, taking the edge off the pain of getting out so early on Sunday morning. We also got help from Franco Vogt, a local professional photographer. The shoot could not have gone more smoothly. It took two takes to get a perfect mob scene running down the street.

Then the mob moved inside the store, grabbing everything in sight in a frenzy. To quote Mariella Bisson’s comment on our Facebook page, “running amok in the store was just great.”

Everyone involved felt the morning shoot was perfect, which is curiously paradoxical, because it was hardly planned at all.

We shot a few additional scenes in the following week, and Marlon took a full advantage of abundant footage from multiple camera angles. He finished editing in a few days, and we now have a video that is a great snippet of our community life in Woodstock.

The video was premiered at Reel Voices on May 11, 2013 at FiberFlame.