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Interview with Heather Colbert, Director and Animator of Ori Dagan's Jazzy Nat King Cole Homage "Bibimbap"

A stop motion iteration of Toronto-based jazz musician Ori Dagan straightens his glossy red bowtie and straightens his hat – the kind that jazz icon Nat King Cole often wore – as he taps his foot to the beat of a lively and blissful piano. Then, looking directly into the camera, he raises an eyebrow and begins to sing.

“He downed a sweet Bellini in the hometown of Fellini. He ordered fresh linguine with pancetta and rapini. But nothing could ever compare to Bib…im…bap,” Dagan reminisces happily in his rich baritone as the delicacies actualize out of midair, a glass of Bellini appearing in his hand and a pile of linguine raining down on him from above in Bristol-based stop motion animator Heather Colbert’s Bimimbap.


Bibimbap is Heather Colbert’s outstanding contribution to Toronto-based Ori Dagan’s “visual jazz album” for his album “Nathaniel: A Tribute to Nat King Cole,” for which Dagan collaborated with many filmmakers and animators to create music videos for each of the songs on the…

Interview with Mark Smith, Director and Writer of Stop Motion Short Film, "Two Balloons"

As I sit, listening to Peter Broderick’s moving composition for piano More Of A Composition, I close my eyes and envisage an enormous funnel cloud skimming across the crystalline face of an ocean – the skies are murky and unusually dark, lightning crackles, spider-webbing across the darkened skies before then vanishing, and still, after its gone, an electricity continues to hum in the air and I simply know that it’s going to soon strike again. And as the scene presents itself to me, I suddenly feel something similar to what director Mark C. Smith felt when he saw the same image as he sailed to a small island called Grenada along with his wife in a timeworn sailboat. For him, in that moment inspiration struck, and the idea suddenly came to him for his heartfelt stop motion film, Two Balloons. For me, I open my eyes and feel as I did the instant Two Balloons faded to black – as if I’ve just woken from a stunning and beautiful dream, one I immediately mourn not being able to see again f…

Aardman Senior Model-Maker Jay Smart Reveals Aardman's Puppet Materials and Plasticine Techniques for "Early Man" to Adam Savage of Tested

Along with the usual humdrum of press ranging from critic reviews and interviews with voice actors regarding British animation powerhouse Aardman Animation’s latest feature film – Early Man, a “prehistoric underdog sports story,” in the words of the film’s director Nick Park – has come by the way of the YouTube channel Tested something really exceptional and especially meant for stop motion enthusiasts – a deep-dive into the materials and plasticine techniques Aardman uses for their puppets presented by television personality and special effects aficionado Adam Savage and Jay Smart, a senior modeler at Aardman.

During Savage’s tour of the plasticine department, Smart gives Savage a demonstration of a system Aardman began developing for Chicken Run, their first plasticine-driven feature film, to methodize a system for mixing large batches of plasticine to produce a particular, standardized color of plasticine. The technique developed, it turns out, was to amalgamate several different …

Interview with Joseph Wallace, Director of Spark's "Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me)" Official Music Video

Neon feathers fly and a midnight chase ensues in a 1930s’ Paris imagined by BAFTA Cymru nominated director Joseph Wallace, traversing through streets, caf├ęs, and across rooftops sporting tilted chimneys and scaly shingles in the music video for legendary American pop-alternative band Sparks’ latest hit, “Edith Piaf (Said It Better Than Me),” praised by the band as, “Perhaps Sparks’ best video ever.”


The video is a gorgeous and somewhat psychedelic romp through the stylized 1930s’ Paris cityscape – “Piaf’s Paris,” as dubbed by Wallace – through which we follow stop motion versions of the Mael brothers, Ron and Russell, whom together comprise Sparks, as they follow a large, neon-colored bird – a sight that provides a stark contrast to the otherwise moody, muddy color palette of Wallace’s Paris, composing a beautiful and exciting ambiance of 3-and-a-half-plus minutes of pure cinematic bliss.

The world of the film was built primarily using cardboard, the backgrounds were painted panorama…

"Early Man" Assistant Director Ben Barrowman Explains Incredibly Detailed Process of Scheduling an Aardman Production to Adam Savage of Tested

In Stop Motion Geek’s third week of featuring the YouTube channel Tested’s excellent behind-the-scenes look at Early Man – the most recent stop motion feature film from Aardman Animations – special effects devotee Adam Savage interviews Early Man first assistant director Ben Barrowman, the mastermind behind Aardman’s “schedule boards” and the coordinator of the entire production schedule for the film.

“Schedule boards” is the term that the folks at Aardman Animations use to refer to the rows upon rows of massive cork boards which are used to plot out the schedule across an entire feature-length production and that are positioned on mobile wall-mounts, one next to another, together spanning an entire wall of one of the studio’s buildings.


The boards are seemingly inauspicious – light gray in color and well-worn from the hundreds of thumb tacks by which they have been impaled since their introduction on Aardman’s second feature-length production, 2005’s Wallace & Gromit: Curse of …

Aardman Model-Making Workshop Manager Jimmy Young Displays Aardman's Puppet-Making Techniques for "Early Man" to Adam Savage of Tested

Upon moving from Aardman’s plasticine workshop to the heart of their model-making department, all around special effects enthusiast Adam Savage – outfitted in his iconic, plain black t-shirt, beige fedora, and thick-rimmed glasses – is greeted by an in-depth display of half a dozen of the puppets designed, engineered, and built for Nick Park’s Early Man and by Aardman senior model maker and model making worship manager Jimmy Young – donning a plaid, blue-and-white button-up with the sleeves rolled up as well as glasses and a black “DC” baseball hat. Young proceeds to explain to Savage Aardman’s process of puppet building and model making in Tested’s most recent video documenting Savage’s in his tour of Aardman.


“Jimmy, when you came to my cave last year you brought some of your amazing handiwork and gave me a little taste of your guys’ wonderful engineering of these puppets,” begins Savage, referencing this video, in which Young and Aardman senior model maker Gary Roberts gave anothe…

Interview with Kangmin Kim, Director of Stop Motion Short Film, "Deer Flower"

The experience of childhood is something like existing within a waking dream. In childhood, as in particularly vibrant dreams, the distinct and unique experience presents itself to simply exist in each moment without explanation or reflection – to become fully and wholly enveloped in each and every moment, the option of operating outside of which is somehow nonexistent. In that special time in one’s life, moments simply are. And yet, childhood, like dreams, is a fragile and temporary reality. It’s not until one “wakes” from childhood, by entering adulthood, that one can reflect upon and appreciate the past and, in retrospect, realize just how odd and unusual certain experiences might have actually been. Korean filmmaker and animator Kangmin Kim captures this feeling beautifully in his outstanding short film Deer Flower.

Deer Flower tells the semi-autobiographical of auteur Kangmin Kim’s childhood experience of dealing with persistent illness and of taking one of the remedies his paren…

Interview with Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Director, Writer, and Animator of Stop Motion Short Film "Bath House"

In art as in life, when in the thick of something – a chain of, at times, loosely connected actions and consequences – it can be easy to miss “the point.” It’s often only in retrospect – the moment when one can contemplate, assessing and reassessing an event, whether mundane or abnormal – when one can discover meaning and a “point” to events in life as in art. When in the thick of something, things often feel commonplace, moments of actual weight sporadic, chaotic, and adrift, lost in the moment.

Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s Bath House – a 15-minutes-long short film – perfectly captures these feelings of disorder and inconsequential consequence in the midst of the mundane and seemingly aimless. This mood is further accentuated in the film by a disquieting lack of a soundtrack, using dialogue only sparingly which perfectly accompanies Bahr’s incredibly lifelike puppets and animation, together harmonizing and bringing to life moments and an atmosphere that are rarely (if ever) captured on …

"Welcome To My Daydream" Documentary About Stop Motion Filmmaker Will Vinton Now on Kickstarter

With four days left to go on Kickstarter, the documentary about the Oscar-winning filmmaker and Claymation filmmaker, Will Vinton, Welcome To My Daydream, climbs steadily towards its goal of $35,000 with 10k left to raise.

Will Vinton, one of the stop motion industry’s most undervalued pioneers – who, in 1978, coined and trademarked the term “Claymation” – was the founder of Will Vinton studios, under which he contributed to creating iconic Claymation characters such as the California Raisins, ‘80s Domino’s mascot Noid, the non-Claymation Red and Yellow M&M’s, as well as having spearheaded Claymation films such as The Adventures of Mark Twain and A Claymation Christmas Celebration, as well as dozens of other feature-length and short films.

Welcome To My Daydream tells the little-known saga of Will Vinton’s career and the and rise and fall of Will Vinton Studios, a stop motion production company founded with high hopes only to eventually fizzle out in the early 2000s, bereft of fund…

Interview with Sean Ohlenkamp, Co-Creator of "Oh My Gourd - A Halloween Stop Motion Pumpkin Carving Experiment"

Just in time for Halloween, stop motion animator Sean Ohlenkamp and photographer Robert Popkin have teamed up to bring us their spellbinding stop motion pumpkin carving experiment, Oh My Gourd, a special treat of a short film, many years in the making.

Two astonishingly talented animators, one stage – a wooden box with “character,” one black curtain, one all-pumpkin-themed soundtrack, several candles, and “dozens upon dozens upon dozens of pumpkins,” says Ohlenkamp, “cut, gutted, rotated, scraped, poked, slapped, and banged” were what it took “to make this stop-motion animation and the music that brings it to life.”

The film, a 2-minute romp through beautiful and extravagant pumpkin-themed stop motion effects, was made using several techniques that are not unknown to stop motion, effects that allow the medium to flourish and step out to be as creative and inventive as only stop motion can be. Casting aside the atypical Halloween iconography, Ohlenkamp and Popkin dive deeper, playing a…