Stop. Motion.

ThePhotographer

Again, pour yourself a long drink – it’s quite a lengthy one packed with videos. For those of you planning on doing work, this is most certainly the procrastination you’ve been looking for.

As most of you know by now, I am a real YouTube community addict. I say YouTube community because I’m not just talking about sitting there looking for cute cat videos (though they are kinda fun) and epic fails (also hilarious). I am part of the global community of people who are actively involved in YouTube, its projects and its ideas.

Don’t worry I’m not going to go on a big fat rant about YouTube all over again. You can see that in my blog Pomplamoose.

Rather, I want to open your eyes to another sphere of YouTube talent. Previously I told you about the music, and in blogs to come I’m sure I’ll talk about the Tribe, YouTube shows, the artists, the activists, the authors, the awesome, and maybe even fail blog (if that day comes, then you’ll know it was a slow news day). Right now, I want to talk about stop motion.

Stop motion videos are videos shot by taking photographs and recording sounds rather than actually videoing the subject. The most common kind are just a record of an event or an accomplishment set to a background song. As a result of their being the most simple and numerous on YouTube, they are often not that good but this is by no means always the case. One of my favourites is this portrait of two of the most attractive people to walk God’s green earth made using the medium of – wait for it – dice:

Another type of stop motion allows certain laws of physics to be seemingly broken in the video. Think about it: if you can consistently pull off a pose in mid air, do some stop motion work and you’re defyyying gravityyyyy *cue Kurt from Glee* His version was SO much better than Rachel’s. I digress.

As you can imagine, stop motion takes time, a LOT of time. If every shot takes 10 seconds (and that’s being wildly conservative) and then there are 100 shots in each video (which is quite a short video come to think of it) then that’s almost 17 minutes for like a video which would be shorter than a minute. Not to mention the time it takes to check that the photo is usable, the time it takes to edit and fit in with any music you have in the background. I’d guess that for every minute of video, you’re looking at about one hour of work, and again that’s probably being quite conservative for some stop motion videos.

Now take the above paragraph and imagine making a stop motion film. Just found a new level of respect for Nick Park and Tim Burton now did you? Not that your respect of the illustrious Mr Burton was in question. But just think about it – The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Corpse Bride were feature length films; not to mention Chicken Run and all the Wallace & Gromit stuff by the great Mr Park. It boggles the mind.

Moving on – one of the best uses for stop motion is to make inanimate objects come alive. Sure, I’ve just been talking about films made where hunks of plasticine are the main characters but what about trying that with food or even with post-it notes? The following is mind blowing, not only for its imagination, but for its scale and brilliance. Granted, it was some guy’s senior year college project but still, it’s phenomenal:

Stop motion can also be used to make alternative music videos. These are some of the most common types of stop motion and, as such, are often the most disappointingly mediocre. There are many very excellent exceptions though:

By far my favourite use of stop motion however, has to be totally original music. These videos take even longer than normal stop motion videos. Not only does it take ages to shoot, each sound has to be recorded, checked for tuning, and then put together to make the music work. Making one of these is my own personal idea of hell itself, but watching one is paradise.

I tried to pick just one video to represent this category but it was just too damn hard. So I widened it to two and even then I was torn. I knew one of the videos was going to be by Michael Aranda simply because he’s awesome and I can’t stop using his videos for my PSVs. Here is his stop motion masterpiece:

I also knew that I had to use MysteryGuitarMan as this guy is mind blowingly good (and incredibly patient it seems). Choosing which of his videos to feature was a real task though. Should I choose one where he plays a Beethoven symphony on glasses of water? Or the one where he plays ‘The Flight Of The Bumblebee’ on his guitar? I eventually hit on this one – Mozart’s ‘The Marriage Of Figaro’ played not by a full orchestra but by this one man on his guitar:

Genius n’est pas?

Thus ends my essay on stop motion. Seriously, if it were my job to promote YouTube, I would be the happiest guy alive.

For all you cool kids out there who like reading about my life, I’ve added a new section to my All You Need To Know About Andy section. It’s the bit in bold.

P.S.V.

Ok, so I know I said that YouTube isn’t all cute cat videos and it isn’t. But there’s this one guy klaatu42 who takes cat videos and then dubs over them to make them high-larious. Actually while we’re on the subject, he’s also made a mean stop motion music video using just stuff in his kitchen. Anyhow – back to his cat video:

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