Creepy mermaids, loss of limbs, drunk sailors, unrequited love, potions, knives and a lot of dolls!
A stop motion animation based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Little Mermaid". A modern re-telling from the view of the witch where mermaids literally have no feet and love is unrequited.
This was my final major project piece at college.
I made this a how-to just to describe the process I went through to design and produce the film :)
W A R N I N G : This film is quite dark, so I wouldn't let your kids watch it without watching it first.
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I read a book. A good book and got inspired.
Whether you use an existing story or make one up out of your head, make sure YOU like it. There's no point doing a project like this if YOU don't really like/want to.
Design your characters on paper, but be realistic in what you're able to make. Remember that as good as your drawing skills are, you'll be challenged as you will have to create a 3D version.
Write a script/story board. Think about how you will use narrative, how you will frame each shot, how you will use the time. Every single shot in my film was planned - I think about 3 seconds of footage was spontaneous. Obviously you can have as much improvised footage as you want, but I still think it's a good idea to know what you're doing.
Start making! Get together your materials (being aware of your budget) and start to enjoy the process of creating.
My props were:
- 2 sided painted backdrop (Plywood)
- 5 different characters (Dolls)
- Treasure chest with treasure (!)
- Rocks, gems & small shells
- Bottles and knives (doll sized)
- A ship (Cardboard lol!)
- Paper to write my narrative on.
Now... to start filming. You will need:
- A digital camera (it could be a camcorder or just a still camera)
- Plenty of constant light (don't rely on daylight, it changes so quickly as the sun moves that your film will fluctuate in lightness/darkness)
- Stop motion software (I used iStopMotion for Mac, it's so easy to use and pretty cheap)
-PATIENCE! Stop motion takes a LONG TIME. For every second of film there are 10 different frames. My film was over 5 minutes long - that's over 3000 frames O_O
Edit your footage. This can even be done through youtube, if you can't afford editing software. Cutting the length of shots, adding sound and even reorganising the storyboard can be done at this stage. I found this the hardest stage technically.
Be proud of the finished film! Whatever skill level you're at, you put a LOT of work to get to this point. This was my first film and I had 4 weeks to complete from start to finish.
I am proud.