I feel 100 feet tall today

April 24, 2009 Published by . Leave your thoughts

My roommie is going to film school at Columbia College right now and her new assignment is a short stop motion animation. So she’s turned our dining room into a workshop of some kind, with lots of tiny trees and clay people, and made my dining room table look like a miniature park.

I walked by it while really sleepy the other day and thought for a split second that I was about 100 feet tall. Only a split second. I think it was the half bag of Oreos I ate that day… I started to hallucinate a little bit.

Anyways… I snapped some quick photos of her and her friend animating some clay people. I’ve played with stop motion before, and it can get a little frustrating if you’re not in the zone- or if you’re on a deadline and have to have it finished soon, in this case. At some point I heard her scream something like, “only 5 feet of film?! We’ve been moving that person’s eyeballs for an hour and a half!”

I love the idea behind stop motion animation because it gets so close to the roots of filmmaking and reminds a person how film cameras work. When the first motion picture cameras were made in the late 1880’s, they were modeled after the novelty-turn-boom picture cameras. They took single photos in quick succession, to create the illusion of motion. That’s how film cameras still work- snapping 24 photos in a second, one after another, then projecting them at the same speed to recreate the motion.

Actually, when the first motion picture cameras were made, the cameras were hand-cranked and the average speed was about 16 frames per second (fps), not 24. The camera operators used to sing songs to keep a steady rhythm while cranking. 24 fps was introduced when sound film was invented and the projector needed to operate at a steady 24 fps to get the strip of sound to play properly. Which is why most silent films appear jerky now- because they were filmed at 16 fps but are being played back at 24 fps. When they were originally projected, the motion was smooth and normal-looking.

See. A degree in Cinema Studies can be useful now and then. Makes for good chit-chat at crappy dinner parties.

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This post was written by Organic Headshots

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