Painted animation to the song Last Night I had the Strangest Dream, an antiwar song written written by Ed McCurdy in the 1950s.
Shot with Canon EOS 20D using Sigma 30mm f/1.4
2620 shots (total animation = 3104 frames) @ 24fps.
Uses The Weavers’ performance of Last Night I had the Strangest Dream from their 1957 album ‘The Weavers at Carnegie Hall’ (recorded 1955).
Pastels (primarily Art Spectrum, some Windsor and Newton and Schmincke) on Canson Mi-Teintes paper.
Original scenes were painted, set up in a black room in a light tent (rectangular prism type affair 800,600,650mm made from pine with poplin sides; MDF on back side (600x650mm) to attach painting and a fitted camera support fixed to the opposing side) with standard lamps arranged around tent.
Painting was altered between shots until scene end, at which point the painting was switched. Some scenes couldn't be manipulated in the light tent, sacrifices were made in the uniformity of the lighting. RAW Photographs were processed in Lightroom to correct white balance and cropping, put through Premiere Pro to produce final video. Whole process only took ~35 hours, which while very quick in terms of animation was not without issue, and the hastiness is very evident in the final piece. Ideally would use more than one painting/page per scene to avoid pigment buildup, which proved to be the most significant problem. Other solutions would be to simplify scenes, use a less pigmented medium (e.g. charcoals á la Kentridge) or simply have a number of layers in each scene and thus not limit motion by the complexity/pigmentation of the back and middle grounds.
The animation style is perhaps a little less ‘animated’ than is normal, and definitely less than what I originally desired. I have never done animation before, and had considerable difficulty manipulating the characters while keeping the paper workable. So after a few issues I decided to venture back to styles closer to those used in still media (with which I am more familiar) and simply have movements and occurrences that are implicit more than actually there. This worked reasonably well, and in places was very effective. Unfortunately there is some jarring contrast between sections that have this implicit variation and the scenes that make use of more explicit motion.
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