Our first in-house animation: A Short History of Communication

Having first worked together last year on the Otsuka Story video (which I’m happy to say is now featured on their new website) Artist Jean-paul Buquet and I teamed up to push the boundaries of stop motion animation, and are delighted to have completed our first in-house production.

‘A Short History of Communication’ – which comes ready-made with a wooly mammouth and some giant hieroglyphs – was made to showcase the different animation techniques we can now employ to help tell our clients’ stories (which don’t necessarily involve wooly mammoths).

The creative process behind this was an interesting one. Initially of course there was the scripting and storyboarding, something we work on as a team. JP has a natural talent for encapsulating complex ideas in a single image, and has been known to have anything up to three moments of genius in a single day.

Step two was building our studio. Whereas for last year’s Otsuka video we used a huge piece of paper for our canvas, this time we decided to go for a white board, due to the flexibility it brings. With that in place we then acquired the necessary cameras, lights and sound equipment, before starting to take photos.

The actual shoots themselves don’t take that long – I think we spent about two days with the camera on this. What does take a lot of time is the pre-production and post-production processes. In this case we were trying out a lot of new techniques, whilst simultaneously testing the waters with the new improved Final Cut Pro X (for which there’s been a couple of updates lately). Half way through we found our exiting edit machines were not up to the job, and so invested in a specced-out 27″ iMac (32GB or RAM and a 3TB Fusion drive certainly help!).

The narration was recorded in our ultra-dampened sound studio, photos of which will eventually be released.

The edit got a little complex towards the end, with over 4,000 image and audio files feeding in to various levels of compound clips. The process was often experimental (is it better to batch edit images in Photoshop before import, or apply crops etc in FCPX after import?) – but this mean that the process turned into a hugely valuable learning experience.

We’re very happy with the end result, and hope to be making more of this these for paying clients in the near future.

Fior those of you who prefer French we have a version just for you. Japanese to follow.