Do you know who Blue Civilian Productions? Well hopefully after you see the fantastic work done by John Farmer on this latest stop motion production for The Aposmatics you will become a fan just like I did. Eventhough John had not had a huge amount of experience in stop motion, I have to say it looks amazing and I really do hope he keeps up with it. I loved those crazy angry eyes!
The latest release from The Aposematics and Blue Civilian Productions is the 2:40 stop motion video set to the tune of “Hands On”. Weighing in at about 1,200 still shots after editing, I ended up cutting out about 300 photos. The majority of the video was shot sequentially, making most of the editing easier.
After experimenting with a little bit of stop motion I decided to shoot a full music video. We shot the stills exclusively on Lori’s Nikon D40 with an attached SB-400 Speedlight. Unfortunately, continuous shooting ate up the flash’s batteries quickly and caused darker frames to litter the video. External static umbrella lighting was used when necessary. A laminated sticker and dry erase marker were used for the doll’s face and Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup was used to simulate what little blood is present in the film. The stop motion action shots of Ken and Dan playing bass and drums were shot in the Morton building we use as a practice space (partially). The higher angles were achieved by attaching the Nikon to a tripod and triggering the shutter with a remote. Lori cleverly thought up the paper hearts and confetti for her kill scene finale. Some thought went into picking colors that would show up appropriately in black and white. Ken, being the “man behind the curtain” was potentially the hardest message to get across, but we easily conveyed the idea by transposing the last bit of paper hearts over the blank monitor, and then again by cutting back to the doll with a similar facial expression.
All of the images were resized, cropped, auto-adjusted, and converted to grayscale with Adobe Photoshop batching. The images were then imported into Adobe Premiere Pro at 2 frames per still at 24fps. My ramshackle attempt at stop motion ran too quickly and was a little confusing at 2 frames per still. I eventually extended the stills to 3 frames per second; this effectively slowed down the action but made the video a bit choppy. The graphics were then added at the final stage and everything was nested and exported out at 720p.
Overall, this shoot was an incredible learning experience and required more precise edits than the other Aposematics videos. I really loved putting this video together, but it will take much more than just a whim for me to attempt another stop motion film anytime soon. I only have the utmost respect for the real kings and queens of stop motion. I have no doubt their patience is greater than mine.