For our final project, my group from the last 4k project decided to stick together and to add a new member to the group so we could make a better 4k piece. We wanted to continue with stop motion, and wanted to take the critique we received from the class to improve. After discussing a few options, we wanted to really use the manipulations that can be achieved through stop motion like we did in FRESH but in a more challenging way. We watched the Amazon Kindle commercials, and became inspired to tell a story using this method. A few different story ideas were thrown around, until someone suggested Goodnight Moon. The idea of taking a story that we were all familiar with and had grown up reading, and remixing it to be a live action, stop motion 4k piece seemed very appealing. We wanted to take this story, and breathe new life into it, and we liked the challenge of adapting it to a stop motion piece that wasn’t animated.
Once we picked the story we wanted to tell, our group sat down to figure out how we would go about adapting it. We found the script that we wanted to use, and figured out what shots and props we would need, as well as what the set needed to look like. After presenting our project to our professor Tracy, we received some great input to adjust some of the colors used on set and to use paper with different patterns to make it more visually appealing. Over the weekend, we worked to buy all the materials, build the props and set, and then spent the day shooting. This was a lot more difficult to shoot, since we needed Daniel to be extremely careful in his movements and we were working on a larger scale. It took a lot of time and patience, but were able to come up with all the shots we needed.
What I liked most about this project was working with this group. We all had a part to play, we worked really well together, and really came together to try and make our piece the best it could be. We all collaborated to create the piece, and it’s really nice to have found a group where not one person is doing all the work, coming up with all the ideas, or being a tyrant over the project. It was a great experience, because I have never really worked in a group that functioned so well together. Through each step of the process, each member of the group was there and contributed in some way. We also had a lot of fun working together!
Artist Statement: For our 4K final project, our concept is to take a childhood story and adapt it for 4K. Rather than use animation, we decided to style it after a particular style of stop motion to create it as a live action piece. To preserve the story book look and feel, we created titles that acted as the pages of the book with the text rather than a voice over reading the book so the viewer could actively read the story themselves. It’s supposed to be bright and whimsical, and to stir up feelings of childhood nostalgia. We wanted to use 4K and stop motion to show the new ways that stories are being told to children as technology becomes more advanced.
Something I have been following lately is the Bechdel test, which was created to gauge gender bias in movies. Here is the criteria:
It has to have at least two women in it,
who talk to each other,
about something besides a man.
It seems so simple, and yet, it is shocking how many movies don’t pass or just barely pass. Since learning about this test, I have been keeping it in the back of my head every time I watch a movie. I never realized how bad the bias was up until I started doing this, and cannot believe how standard it is in films. It’s even worse when there are women in the movie, but their only job is to strip down or look sexy to enhance the already heavily male oriented story (ahem…the female scientist in the new star trek who strips down to her bra and panties for a reason that is hard to justify). I hope that in the creation of this test more people become aware of this problem in movies, and we see a shift to films that aren’t so gender biased.
Last night we started shooting for our 4k project!
I was a little late due to class, but Austin and Daniel set up the stage and ran test shots to make sure that we had the correct image size to account for the cropping. We also figured out how many photos we would need to make sure that the stop motion was fluent and everything was done in 24 frames per second. We figured out what shots we needed, and broke it down into seconds, and then broke those seconds down into 24 frames. I knew what we were getting into, but since this was my first time actually doing stop motion, I was amazed by how much work goes into it. We were in the studio for over 6 hours and were only able to complete the first 35 seconds of our minute!
For the project we wanted to have different colored fruit and vegetables go through a transformation and then transition to another fruit/veggie. For example, we had a lemon “juiced” into lemon heads, which rearranged themselves to form the shape of a banana, which transformed to a real banana after Daniel touched it. It was very time consuming for each fruit and transition, and it was difficult working with the props under the heat of the lighting. We had to work slow enough so that the stop motion was fluid, and fast enough to make sure the food didn’t melt under the lighting. At the end of the night we scrolled through the photos and we are pretty happy with the progression. We are pretty happy with what we got, but shooting is only half the battle…we still have to go through the cropping/editing the photo sequence.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with my group. At UCSD I have found it hard to find a group that actually works well together. Usually some people slack off, one person does all the work, it is hard to meet up and the project turns out looking half assed. I think our group had a great dynamic, we all worked really well together, we split the work evenly, shared ideas and I think our end result will be better because of how well our group worked. Even after the midnight mark when we were all getting cranky, we still worked together and kept pushing on. We all had a common idea and kept each other driven, and I thought it made the experience better. We also had a lot of fun doing the project, which made it easier to get through the hours :)