In my youth I had a vision of becoming a filmmaker. Not just your average Director however but one that focused on stop motion animation. This was because of a wonderful book from my Junior High School library that went into great detail on animation itself. Traditional cell, claymation, as well as the Pioneers of Stop Motion Animation. The major hurdle to this endeavor was the lack of getting my hands on a camera.
Although that would change when I made it to High School. However it is not as if I was able to produce animation worthy of those I admired. Of course I didn’t actually have a camcorder with which to attempt a short. My choice was an ancient camera that could be attached to an 100 lb VHS unit. I was forced to count to three seconds, since the VHS deck would roll back around two seconds after each “shot”. To add a little salve to my attempt, I will admit that at least I won an award for Gorp/Ed vs The Critters. I came in second place at the local public access awards show!
As a bonus you were able to see my Family moving about in the background while watching Dallas. As well as listening to the finest Commodore 64 music at the time, the second piece was from the game High Noon. Over the years I have managed to dabble in stop motion animation now and again, just as a hobby of course. Perhaps I will eventually piece them together for the internet to scoff and ridicule.
What no one in their right mind will scoff at though is Pioneers of Stop Motion Animation. Put together by Laird Jimenez for Birth.Movies.Death., it gives you a wonderful look at how the cinematic technique has progressed through the years. Ranging from the likes of J. Stuart Blackton’s The Haunted Hotel…
…Ladislas Starevich’s The Tale of the Fox and of course Willis O’Brien.
As well as his protege, the equally legendary Ray Harryhausen. The stop Motion animation maestro who brought us the likes of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Clash of the Titans, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad to name a few!
Pioneers of Stop Motion Animation continues through artists like Art Clokey (Gumby), to Will Vinton and Phil Tippett’s work on Star Wars and Robocop!
Enjoy Pioneers of Stop Motion Animation and be sure to share your memories of the art form in the comments!
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