Why do we love stop motion? As Slashfilm's put it, "In the day and age of everything being whipped up in CGI, it’s really a testament to see people work in a medium that requires hours of tedious work on films that can take an extremely long time to produce." Not only does stop motion take an enormous amount of patience, it's unique and interesting, proving that with a healthy dose of imagination and creativity, the sky is truly the limit.
Though stop motion animation has a long history, dating back to 1898, it's only in recent years that we've seen an explosion of creative and groundbreaking ways of using it. With big brands like Amazon, Olympus, Nokia and Levi now including it in their advertising, and musical acts such as Coldplay, Oren Lavie and OK Go, showing it off in their music videos, some may say this trend has run its course.
I happen to disagree.
As you will see with the ten videos we've chosen below, an artist can put his or her unique spin on the technique to make it something fresh and even groundbreaking. Whether it's PES taking everyday objects like a Rubik's cube, pick-up sticks and Post-it notes and turning them into garlic, spaghetti and butter, respectively, or street artist Blu warping our minds with moving graffiti, we get to see and experience magic in more ways than one.
So enjoy this list of our favorite stop motion videos and if you don't see your favorite listed here, make sure to let us know in the comments section.
1. iPad + Long Exposure Lights
Making Future Magic: iPad Light Painting - What exactly is so incredible about this recently released stop motion? It takes the iPad to a whole new level. Created by Dentsu London, this film uses multiple techniques like sequential long exposure light painting and animation, to draw moving 3-dimensional typography and objects with an iPad. As they explain, "In dark environments, we play movies on the surface of the iPad that extrude 3-d light forms as they move through the exposure. Multiple exposures with slightly different movies make up the stop-frame animation." The film begins with a short "making of" segment.
MUTO by Blu - A short film by one of the top street artists of our time, MUTO brings to life paintings on public walls. Made in Buenos Aires and in Baden (fantoche), the piece takes street art to a whole new and exciting level.
Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles - Check out this cool typography film created by BYU design students and faculty, for the 5th Typophile Film Festival. It's a visual feast about the five senses, and how they contribute to and enhance our creativity. Coolest part? There are no CG effects. I love it when words comes alive!
4. Timelapse + Typography
Death Cab for Cutie, Little Bribes - A fan-made video by Ross Ching, this one combines timelapse, stop motion and live action to create one incredible experience. This video will not only have you singing along to a great song, it'll keep you visually engaged throughout.
Iron Man vs Bruce Lee - With a title like Iron Man vs Bruce Lee, you know this is going to be good. Patrick Boivin is the filmmaker behind this stop motion short film. In addition to directing, he is often involved in the lighting, editing, animation, special effects and even music in his films. Boivin started his creative career by drawing comic books, and, in his words, “quickly discovered that it was faster to tell a story with video."
AT-AT Day Afternoon - Another one by Patrick Boivin? Yes, he's that good. Using the Canon 5D Mark II and editing with Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects, Boivin made an AT-AT come to life in 15 days. A combination of stop motion animation and puppetry, the video is an incredibly creative piece of art.
7. Carefully Scripted and Storyboarded Music Video
Before everyone and their mother was making stop motion music videos, Israeli singer and songwriter Oren Lavie used it in Her Morning Elegance. With over 14 million views on YouTube, at the time of this post, the video will live on as one of the most celebrated uses of stop motion in our time. Did you know that this video took 6 weeks of scripting, 3 weeks of storyboarding in animatic, 48 hours of shooting, and 2,096 still photos? Check out the behind-the-scenes video to really get an idea about how much work went into this.
8. Everyday Objects Come Alive
Western Spaghetti by PES - We can't talk stop motion without mentioning PES. A director and animator of numerous short films and commercials, PES or Adam Pesapane, uses his film to tell stories. They're engaging because he can make everyday objects come alive through his stop motion animation. TIME Magazine named "Western Spaghetti" the #2 Internet film of 2008 in its "Top Ten of Everything 2008".
Deadline Post-it Stop Motion - The craziest thing about this stop motion animation is that it uses something we take for granted in our everyday lives, post-it notes. A senior project for college, this video was directed by Bang-yao Liu with music by Röyksopp. Post-its became pixel-like, as they moved, danced and spun on screen. Watch the making of video to see how it all came together.
The Sandpit - How exactly do you turn everyday life in New York into a memorable piece of art? Just ask Sam O'Hare. Winner of the Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction 2010, The Sandpit was shot in and around New York from private rooftops and balconies to public spaces, including the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. The film shows us that when you combine stop motion with tilt shift photography, you get to see a major metropolis in a miniature way.