On Monday and Wednesday of last week, I had both of my videos workshopped (To See A World and Who robbed the woods). There wasn’t much that needed changing, except for a few minor details. In Who robbed the woods, I had to apply a filter onto the shot of the feather so that it matched the colors of the rest of the shots. I also made sure that the timing of the cuts according to the music and poem were exactly right. Finally, I asked a friend for another opinion. He and I eventually agreed that one of the black frames needed to go. It felt choppy compared to the flow of the rest of the cuts. Now there is only one black frame on the word ‘trees.’
As for To See A World, there were just as few changes that needed to be made. However, I took out a brief black frame that came before the shot of the girl at the end. I also inserted a close-up of the flower toward the middle of the video. I did not already have a close-up on hand because it was so difficult getting the focus just right on the camera. So instead I used some advice that was actually meant for another classmate: I found a clear shot of the baby and the flower; I cropped everything out but the flower; and then I blew up the image to fit the frame. It was a simple process that did not require any re-shooting. Thus, the revision phase was a downhill process for me, and the revisions were more like touch-ups if anything.
Final version of To See A World, directed by Cat Wityk. Poem by William Blake.
Final version of Who robbed the woods, directed by Cat Wityk. Poem by Emily Dickinson.
This is a revised and potentially final version of ‘Who robbed the woods.’
I went into this stop motion project with high expectations and some grand ideas. A word of advice to anyone who has never made stop motion: don’t go into it with high expectations and grand ideas. First I wanted to do something with water streaming in-between the cracks of a brick patio, but unfortunately, I am not Poseidon. Another idea was to show a couple dollar bills crumpling themselves up and forming origami shapes. I spent at least an hour figuring out how to make origami. Then once my crane and my elephant were in shape and ready for action, I found out that they just look like shapeless, indistinguishable, crumpled up dollar bills on the camera.
So as I quickly learned, creating a stop motion film was one of the most difficult and frustrating things I would ever do. I began scrambling for ideas that were both doable and satisfactory compared to my grand ideas. After much hair pulling and staring off into space, I settled with some old and very ugly dolls. I was not a fan of these dolls whatsoever and honestly I despised every minute of shooting them. But I was somewhat proud of my simple setting. I used construction paper as a base, to indicate grass and sky. I glued on the shapes of a sun and clouds. Finally, I went to visit my local sushi restaurant, Yamato Sushi in Timonium, and asked for some of those fake plastic grass things they use to decorate sushi. I also used gum to keep the dolls either standing upright or holding things.
Next came the hard part. The concept of taking one picture per individual frame seemed impossible to me. It must take hundreds of photos just to create one second of smooth movement. Thus, my project was anything but smooth; but on the other hand, I believe the jerkiness of the movement worked as an advantage in the end, giving the audience a sense of the strange way that those doll characters move.
The editing phase was the easy part this time. A few quick color changes were intended to make the scene appear nostalgic, as though reminiscing on the baby’s first steps. The rest of the editing was simply a matter of timing each photo to last approximately a third of a second, and then to cut out any unfocused frames or mess-ups. Even after I had finished editing, I still hated the project. I found it dull and poorly made, with a stupid plotline. This is all true, of course, but my attitude toward the completed work changed a great deal upon work-shopping it in class. Both my peers and professors agreed that the combination of the color tone with the ugly dolls made the entire work feel creepy and sinister. I was extremely surprised and pleased to hear this, because I like creepy and sinister much more than dull and stupid. So even though the work itself is not exactly the best stop motion ever made, it was at least a necessary experience to have gone through. It is better to try and end up with something mediocre than to not have tried at all.
This is a stop motion video directed by Cat Wityk for the JHU Summer Programs class Auteur 101. It is based on the poem “To See A World” by William Blake.
This is a short stop motion video directed by Cat Wityk for the JHU Summer Programs class Auteur 101. It is based on the poem “To See A World” by William Blake.