Melissa Swanson, a student, has completed a couple shots for a “trailer” for an animated film (an animated film she doesn’t intend to actually complete). She’s using a melange of techniques — the backgrounds are woodcut prints, some of the animation is done in Flash and then printed out on transparencies, and then she’s shooting the transparencies against the backgrounds with a digital camera — then compiling the shots with QuickTime. She’s also started using paper cut-outs, and painting on the transparencies. You can sometimes see light reflections on the transparencies — Melissa’s been wondering if that’s problematic, or if it actually adds something worthwhile. I don’t think she intended the shots to look so lo-fi, but she seems to be developing an affection for its lo-fi qualities.
It reminded me of some animation I’d seen by Brent Green — he does stop-motion animation, drawing on transparencies whose edges you can clearly see — sometimes the light flares along their edges to pleasing effect. He doesn’t try to hide the seams of his process at all, and the layers of lo-fi attack accrete into a genuine aesthetic. Here are some excerpts of his short “Hadacol Christmas” — I particularly love the scene at the end of the clip, where Santa’s sleigh is held to the sky with flickering scotch tape, and a slurry of blurred snow makes the night look like a pulled-apart cotton-ball:
The full animated short can be found on youtube in two parts: