The Legend of Babushka
The Legend of Babushka was a commissioned piece of work for a local storyteller called Chloe of the Midnight Storytellers. When she heard of my interest in animation and filmmaking she approached me with the idea of filming a story. Being completely foolish I chose an 11 minute period piece set in Russia, in the snow, at Christmas. What came next was three years of immensly hard work as, through my GSCE's and A level exams, I spend my evenings planning shots, building set pieces, miniature furniture and consulting with my Grandmother, Doreen Fothergill, who designed and crafted all of the beautiful costumes in the animation.
With this piece of work I had bitten off considerably more than I could chew but I persisted, as one Christmas, and then another, rolled by. Determined to have it finished by the third Christmas I simplified the opening, through the forest, to include my, then new, influence of Jan Svankmajer, where the trees became simple logs of wood before the house and shot the entire villages scene on the rotating stage. The rotating stage I would not choose to do again, and is probably the section of the film I am most disappointed with. The rest of the film however I am most pleased with. It is a personal testament to hard work paying off, and set a benchmark for me that, though not perfect, is always something to look back on and say "This! this was the point that I began film in earnest and knew that I wanted to continue making films." I had it ready for that Christmas, released it on the 2nd of December and received wonderful feedback.
I shot the entire film on a Fuji Finepix S9600 (as I had invested in this beforehand for animation) and though I knew nothing of cameras at the time it did me very well on the project. The lens, though not interchangeable, boasted a 28-300mm range (10.7 times optical zoom) with very fine macro capabilities (1cm to the lens) with fully manual mode available, for exposure and focus. All of the stop motion was done very simply in-camera, with no additional software; edited in post on Windows Movie Maker.