This is a short stop-motion film inspired by a scene in Terry Bisson's classic story "Bears Discover Fire" made by students in years 7–9 (with help from some in Year 12) at The Cottesloe School during Arts Week. We used iStopMotion software and a couple of consumer camcorders.
The budget for this was very low. Apart from the cost of the plasticine, more or less everything else was found lying around. A student, Chris Hobson, made wire frame models at home out of household wire. He also prototyped the first bear. The other bears were made by various students. The two human characters had already appeared in Chris Hobson's version of Little Red Riding Hood - he made those, too. Daniel Bell made the owl.
The set consists of a piece of hardwood covered in artificial grass, with leaves, twigs, mulch, and anything else we could find. The backdrop is a joined series of photos of some woods on the school grounds. We printed them on A3 paper and then glued them together, concealing the joins with real bits of wood stuck into plasticine under the "grass".
The fire was built by a couple of students, an the lighting effect was created by Mr Pearce in the DT department, using 6 LEDs, a battery, and a simple circuit board to make the lights flash.
We created the smoke effect using talcum powder. In the good old days we might have just used a cigarette, which would have doubled the budget of the film.
Lighting was created with a household lamp, with a small Pag Light used to show cars going by.
The polar bear is in the story because the theme of our Arts Week was that a character falls asleep in the school library and finds him or herself in a variety of different scenarios. The red baseball cap identifies the character.
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