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Sunday, September 11, 2005

How Nick Park discovered stop-motion animation

Nick Park, creator of the animated clay duo Wallace and Gromit, talks about the technology that initially drew him to stop-motion animation in a great piece today in the NY Times by Stuart Klawans:

    "One day, when I was playing with my mum's movie camera - an eight-millimeter Bell & Howell, not even a Super 8 - I discovered it had a strange thing: a single-frame button, which actually said 'animation.' I don't know what use it would have been to most people. Digital cameras today don't have stuff like that. But my dad explained it to me. I remember him saying how with animation you can do anything; it's limited only by your imagination.

    "I was already obsessed with drawing cartoons and making models of them, so this was a gift: a button that creates a movie."

And he was off.

The story also touches on the production process used by Park and Steve Box, co-director of the film "Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit":

    Once they had worked out the characters and incidents, Mr. Park and Mr. Box storyboarded the entire picture, fed the results into the Avid editing machine and added voices and temporary music. "That's where the writing happens," Mr. Park says. "We edit the whole thing before we shoot it, because we can't afford to film much that we don't use." Production itself took two years, with up to 30 animators working each day on as many sets: positioning the puppets, taking a picture, repositioning the puppets minutely, taking another picture. "Each animator might get through three seconds a day."

It's due out October 7th.