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Friday, December 12, 2008

Lo-fi and Proud

Melissa Swanson, a student, has completed a couple shots for a "trailer" for an animated film (an animated film she doesn't intend to actually complete). She's using a melange of techniques -- the backgrounds are woodcut prints, some of the animation is done in Flash and then printed out on transparencies, and then she's shooting the transparencies against the backgrounds with a digital camera -- then compiling the shots with QuickTime. She's also started using paper cut-outs, and painting on the transparencies. You can sometimes see light reflections on the transparencies -- Melissa's been wondering if that's problematic, or if it actually adds something worthwhile. I don't think she intended the shots to look so lo-fi, but she seems to be developing an affection for its lo-fi qualities.

It reminded me of some animation I'd seen by Brent Green -- he does stop-motion animation, drawing on transparencies whose edges you can clearly see -- sometimes the light flares along their edges to pleasing effect. He doesn't try to hide the seams of his process at all, and the layers of lo-fi attack accrete into a genuine aesthetic. Here are some excerpts of his short "Hadacol Christmas" -- I particularly love the scene at the end of the clip, where Santa's sleigh is held to the sky with flickering scotch tape, and a slurry of blurred snow makes the night look like a pulled-apart cotton-ball:

The full animated short can be found on youtube in two parts:

More films can be found on his website, and he also has a DVD of his films for sale.

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