In a world of plastic barbie bodies, care explosions, and supposedly “average joes” taking down bad guys by commandeering helicopters (I’m looking at you Die Hard), stop motion animation is a breath of fresh air…and perhaps even the salvation of a stagnant film industry. Ironic, given that the “technology” of stop motion animation has been around since the late 1800s.
The first recorded stop motion film was created in 1898 when two filmmakers used their daughter’s toy set and a series of rapidly flipped through photographs to make a toy circus come to life. The painstaking process of animating a stop motion film hasn’t changed much from that time: the filmmaker takes a photo, adjusts the figures he wants to move, takes another, and so on. As there are 24 frames per second of film, it can take hours to shoot several seconds of footage.
Although seemingly limited, the technique has been used to create some iconic movies like the original King Kong on top of the Empire State Building, Terminator 1, Wallace and Gromit , and, arguably one of the greatest stop motion achievements of all time, The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Some of the most interesting film pieces today draw on this 120-plus year old technology – and artists today are pushing the limits. We at Labocine have been big fans of the technique for a long time and have pulled some of our favorites from our archives. We hope you enjoy!
Deer Flower / Korea
Dujung, an elementary student, goes to a farm in the suburbs with his parents. While his parents believe the expensive and rare specialty from the farm will strengthen their son’s body, Dujung suffers side effects.
Birdlime / United States
After narrowly escaping being trapped in the exotic bird-trade industry, an unfortunate fowl still ends up caged and corrupted by his new world.
Amygdala / United States
A crack in a robot prisoner’s wall offers a glimpse of what he wishes he was: a formed human with emotions.
Los Andes / Chile
An office is possessed by a divine force that has come to prophesy the rise of a new golden civilization in Los Andes.
About the author
Bettina is a communications consultant, whose work supports social change initiatives in health and clean energy in southern Africa and Latin America. Her work has seen her teaching photography courses to youth in villages across Botswana, writing content for high ranking officials working in HIV/AIDS programming, and building business case studies for clean energy investments across southern Africa. She is currently based in Johannesburg, South Africa.