It's taken the mammoth displacement activity inducing horror of apply to jobs for me to finally finish my very own knitted clanger (from the original 1972 Clanger pattern in the BBC archives). Five years it's been sat, half-socked, waiting to have life breathed into it. There are mistakes, two different colours of wool and bite marks (from mice of all things) but here he is, finally comitted to film.
Yes actual film, this also served at an experiment for my first ever animation on 35mm film. The camera wobble actually comes from having to scan in the printed pictures (as the processing service didn't offer a digital copy of my photographs! Unimpressed!) but I think the overall result is really quite charming.
He is, of course, turning the handle to my recently purchased Bolex H16 camera, with which the original Clangers series' were filmed.
This was filmed on a Pentax K1000 35mm SLR camera with Pentax K-mount 50mm f1.7 lens on Vista Plus Camera Film 200 ASA. There are 13 frames in the sequence.
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.
This animation I have included despite it being very short and almost plotless. I made this animation one Sunday afternoon with the intention of using it just to experiment with drawn-on overlays to the image which, at the time using Windows MovieMaker, was an absolute pain. What I got out of this however was something that I'm really happy with. The design of the character was simply through necessity, taking away any legs, easy to move, shapeless worm-like arms, and a head that was some shape other than round to stop him from looking like a walking dildo. He took on this fantastically expressive form however and, when overlaying the voice, he had to have some sort of gruff, blearly, morning croak to him. This is possibly my favourite character to ever have animated and favourite short animation to have done. I never animated another with him however for then I embarked on Babushka and, sadly, have been Universitying since, filming live action exlusively.