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HALLOWEEN is the theme for STOPMO JAM 3. Deadline is SEPTEMBER 18, 2021

Get ready for STOPMO JAM 3!

This time the theme is everyone's favorite stopmo time of the year: HALLOWEEN!

So what is a STOPMO JAM?

It is a series of short animated ideas that all relate to the theme. We've done Spring and Run in the past, this time it's Halloween!

Puppets can be made of clay, paper, foam, wire, sand, whichever materials you can utilize to create your design but it must be stop motion animated. Sorry no LEGOs, action figures, toys, or store bought items are allowed UNLESS it is modified (painted, covered with paper or clay, etc). The goal is to make a hand-made experimental film. Stop motion puppets, 2d cutouts, sand, painting, pixelation*, all hand-made animation techniques allowed.

*EDIT: animating your hand interacting with a puppet is ok

Background: A Black Sweep is best but it's ok to build sets and props. For editing purposes, just make sure your first and last frames are completely black. Either your puppet enters and exits a completely black set (simplest way to accomplish this much like STOPMO JAM Spring) or some kind of trick, like the camera zooms into the black eye socket of a skeleton (like we did in Corpse Bride)

Important Technical Requirements!

For your Jam to look its best, please adhere to these guidelines.
Shot Length: 15 seconds maximum

Frame Rate: 24 fps (not 23.96 or 30 or 29.97....24 please!) 
 
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 @ 1920 x 1080
 
Finished Animation: export to Quicktime (H264 is good)
 
Add your own Sound FX. Make sure you have the rights to it. Better yet, record your own! 
DEADLINE is SEPTEMBER 18, 2021. This may seem like a long ways away but for stop motion people, it's just around the corner. Remember, you have to build and animate everything yourself. You could easily spend months just building a puppet. Start thinking of your idea first, once you have nailed it down, get to work. If you have any questions, send me a message thru SMA.com or better yet, reply to this thread. Content must be ok for kids to watch.* I reserve the right not to include your animation if it doesn't fit into these guidelines. Ok go make something!


*EDIT: More about Content. Think about making this fun for all ages. Monsters, ghosts, haunted houses, tricks and treats, spooky creatures all good. Keep a lid on the blood, this is not a slasher horror film. If you have any questions, drop me a note here.

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The Skelelton Dance scene in Corpse Bride is a good example of what you can do with a Black Background and set. I think we used black velvet when we shot these scenes to avoid reflections and shadows.

that's awesome scene.. black velvet hey that's interesting.. yeah I learnt I can't use certain things like that black out material you can get for windows. I bought to stop the light coming in.. that reflects, especially on the shiny side.. although I think the matt side is ok to use. doesn't appear any reflections or shadows.. but I have to look into the velvet thanks for sharing that with us.. 



Anthony Scott said:

The Skelelton Dance scene in Corpse Bride is a good example of what you can do with a Black Background and set. I think we used black velvet when we shot these scenes to avoid reflections and shadows.

Yeah Black Velvet works great if you want to have a completely dark background. It did pose a tricky problem when I had to drill into the set to tie down the skeletons! First, glue the fabric down to the floor of the set. Before drilling, use an Xacto blade to cut a small X in the fabric first, then cut those flaps away so there is a small hole cleared for the drill bit. Drill slowly being careful not to let the bit grab the fabric and it should be fine. 

James Krysa said:

that's awesome scene.. black velvet hey that's interesting.. yeah I learnt I can't use certain things like that black out material you can get for windows. I bought to stop the light coming in.. that reflects, especially on the shiny side.. although I think the matt side is ok to use. doesn't appear any reflections or shadows.. but I have to look into the velvet thanks for sharing that with us.. 

Stop Mo Nick - We must have had the same idea because my Pre-Viz Pre-Viz was 40 seconds long as well. So I fired one of the puppets and shortened the stage.

James - Thank you. The lesson for today is make sure all storage boxes are CLEARLY marked. I have a daydream that Dennis fell out of the garbage truck and will come knocking on my door. (Could be a good project).

I tried a simple computer animation of my idea and it was too long. So then I went live action and filmed myself and got it down to the time frame we need. I will have a simple set but use the lighting and software to fade to pure black. I have two other paying projects (not animation) going on right now and my wife's first comments were "Are you going to have time to do it all" I said "sure no problem," but that was a lie, and she knows it.

thanks for sharing that with us.. good tips there.. I would definitely need to know that when I try this for myself.. I'm already planning on building a new set up.. 

QUESTION: as an idea.. for a background /  I'm dieing to try rear screen projection at some point,  using a big HD tv / and frame advancing my footage for the actual frames of the stopmotion puppet animation I do .. is that allowed or would that be classed as Pixelation.. 

I don't have many pics from Corpse Bride but here are a couple I took with my crappy phone camera at the time (2004).

The Skeletons marching toward camera against black velvet.


The Camera was at a very low angle for this shot, you can see the computer monitor and b&w image we were working with back then for grabbing frames. Originally we planned to shoot on film with traditional Mitchell 35mm cameras, our early testing was all on film but just before animation production started, it was decided to shoot with Digital Cameras. No Dragonframe back then. We used the frame grabber from Will Vinton Studios and a small video camera looking thru the viewfinder. You can sort of make out the video camera and cable at the back of the camera.

Steve - I like your idea.. sounds ambitious, I wouldn't know where to start.. haven't done anything yet more elaborate than making limbs move, and eye's move lol.. I have yet to tell any kind of story.. we all have to lie to ourselves don't we.. nothing wrong with a bit of delusion and denial in the mix.. in my own experience I have to trick myself into doing animation lol then to my own surprise I'm surprised that I actually enjoy animating.. it's a strange beast animation.. perhaps that's why I feel so drawn to it.. each to his own in it.. yeah lots of work ahead for this JAM for sure ... very challenging.. exciting though... 

p.s. what are storgage boxes lol.. all my stuff is just everywhere.. that's something I realise I need to sort out though.. need to buy some shelving units.. then I can just move the mess off the floor and onto the walls lol ... it's like musical chairs.. moving the chaos around.. it's not surprising that we lose things or can't find anything half the time...   good luck with it all.. 

Anthony - thanks for sharing.. what Canon EOS and LENS was used there??  ..interesting to see the old computers in the background.. I still have my TOOLWORKS -  VIDEO LUNCHBOX SYNC -  audio / video frame grabber here, that I still use sometimes.. it's just easier to get stuff in there for live reference.. no learning curve.. but it's limited to analogue.. but still does the job..

although I learnt a new software package this week: Ummy video downloader costs £35 I think it was.. you can have a free download to try it out.. but it only allowed me one download from YouTube.. then wanted my money.. 

allows you to download footage off YouTube into this then you can open as QT movie if you like, so you can frame advance then to study footage..  



Steve Copeland said:

Stop Mo Nick - We must have had the same idea because my Pre-Viz Pre-Viz was 40 seconds long as well. So I fired one of the puppets and shortened the stage.

James - Thank you. The lesson for today is make sure all storage boxes are CLEARLY marked. I have a daydream that Dennis fell out of the garbage truck and will come knocking on my door. (Could be a good project).

I tried a simple computer animation of my idea and it was too long. So then I went live action and filmed myself and got it down to the time frame we need. I will have a simple set but use the lighting and software to fade to pure black. I have two other paying projects (not animation) going on right now and my wife's first comments were "Are you going to have time to do it all" I said "sure no problem," but that was a lie, and she knows it.

Hi James, not completely clear on your question. A big TV is fine. Pixelation is animating humans and real objects as I understand it. Check out Bolex Brother's Tom Thumb. It is a blend of Pixelation and Puppet animation. Very trippy.

QUESTION: as an idea.. for a background /  I'm dieing to try rear screen projection at some point,  using a big HD tv / and frame advancing my footage for the actual frames of the stopmotion puppet animation I do .. is that allowed or would that be classed as Pixelation.. 

hey,  that Bolex Brother's Tom Thumb.. profoundly creepy.. I'm going to watch that on the big cinema screen later.. appreciate the details.. I did know about it, but never made the time to watch it really.. it's competing with Netflix lol.. you can't say anything, you making a film for Netflix now aren't you. which is awesome.. I seen alienxmas that Justin Rasch and Ian Boone worked on, that was on Netflix.

https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/stop-motion-character-p...

..if you watch the short video on that link, top right hand corner.. or just look at the pic there, it shows what I'm talking about.. the animator guy is using a HD tv as a rear screen projector and animating the terminator puppet in front of it.. merging the two images.. using frame advance on the tv. it looks pretty real.. 

Ok yes Rear Projection is totally fine. They did that on the Mandalorian live action sets and looks amazing.

..if you watch the short video on that link, top right hand corner.. or just look at the pic there, it shows what I'm talking about.. the animator guy is using a HD tv as a rear screen projector and animating the terminator puppet in front of it.. merging the two images.. using frame advance on the tv. it looks pretty real.. 

Ok cool..  I'm hoping I can record something for the TV footage.. obviously I can't use anything from a film.. that's copyrighted and interact the puppet with it.. but not sure how that's going to go until I've tested it, it may present more technical issues than I'm ready to deal with at this point.. ...  

I have yet to see that Mandalorian series.. I have got Disney+ subscription too.. just to watch MULAN and started watching WandaVision.. based on those Marvel characters from the films..  which I hope is going to get really good as it goes on.. trippy..

I hate to derail the conversation but several effects in the first two episodes of Wandavision were practical, things flying on strings or attached to poles and the rigs were removed digitally.

Stan Winston School has a video on using a Computer monitor as a backdrop for stop motion animation. I have not seen it because I don't have a subscription.

My two commissions I mentioned earlier are Mandalorian armor for a friend so its friends and family pricing. May make enough to finally get Dragonframe but I am sure a silly electric bill will come up or the car will break down.


James Krysa said:

Ok cool..  I'm hoping I can record something for the TV footage.. obviously I can't use anything from a film.. that's copyrighted and interact the puppet with it.. but not sure how that's going to go until I've tested it, it may present more technical issues than I'm ready to deal with at this point.. ...  

I have yet to see that Mandalorian series.. I have got Disney+ subscription too.. just to watch MULAN and started watching WandaVision.. based on those Marvel characters from the films..  which I hope is going to get really good as it goes on.. trippy..

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