Weekly Log 5 (Tuesday 2nd February 2016 – Thursday 4th February 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Continuing on from Weekly Log 4 of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, Weekly Log 5 expands further on what kind of research I did, including what I would develop and create from the fourth week onto the fifth week of this project, that’s including the final Stop-Frame Animation Project film.

Research / Context

During the course of the fifth week, I did some further research based on some of the characters whose names I missed or were unable to find over the course of the first few weeks back for my sketchbook, and during the course of this week, I did a restructured version of my research presentation based on the chosen film I wanted to talk about, as I did my research presentation on the 2015 film, Shaun the Sheep, which was created and produced by Aardman Productions.

This research presentation would help me to relate the information I gathered to my experiments, as this would help me for when it comes to setting the mise-en-scene, as well as the lighting of my stop-frame animation film.

To develop my understanding, I wanted to make sure to find out more about what the mise-en-scene meant by researching it on the internet, and how I could use the information that I researched to create my own mise-en-scene for my stop-frame animation film.

I also added some more pictures to the research presentation I did, based on the character that I chose to write about, as well as doing a profile of the film, for instance, the year it was released, who the Shaun the Sheep Movie was directed by, as well as giving a brief description of the film, given that I’ve actually seen it before.

Practical Tasks Done

The process I used was the mise-en-scene, given that the Shaun the Sheep Movie not only involved the full use of anthropomorphism (a character with human-like features), but the mise-en-scene, for a scene in the film, in this case: “The Big City”, involved a large amount of buildings and cars that, if you look at it closely, looks like the kind of layout for a city-wide redevelopment project. I used the mise-en-scene as an idea for my stop-frame animation test film by using a photograph I took when I went on the trip to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum a week before.

What I thought was difficult was being able to select a good photograph from the large variety of photographs that I took whilst I was on the trip to use as the mise-en-scene for my test film. I wanted to make sure that the photo I had chosen would blend in with the characters that were used in the making of the stop-frame animation test film that me and two other students produced while in the photography studio.

What worked well, however, was I was able to use the photograph I took of the stain-glassed windows that the museum had in full view from the first floor to set the mise-en-scene for the test film, after we finished our green-screen and location photo sets.

To improve, I want to make sure to take out certain bits of my test film that are irrelevant, and only add in the most relevant bits that are important, so that it gives me a better chance to set the mise-en-scene better for my test film.

Critical Analysis

For the composition, I wanted to make sure to produce my film, but in a way where I could influence the film that I did some research on in my own experimental test film, by using the sock puppet that I produced a few weeks before to produce the film with a small number of students, given that other sock puppets would also be involved in the test film we would produce after making our own sock puppets a few weeks prior.

I have felt that the research/contextual studies I have gathered can be applied to help me develop my own experiments, as this will help me to develop my own version of my own mise-en-scene, and I also feel that this will help me to set the lighting of my test film for certain shots that I want to produce, before I progress onto making my final stop-frame animation film.

This brings the fifth Weekly Log for the Stop-Frame Animation Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the final Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Alex Smithson

Weekly Log 4 (Tuesday 26th January 2016 – Thursday 28th January 2016) – Stop-Frame Animation Project

Continuing on from Weekly Log 3 of the Stop-Frame Animation Project, Weekly Log 4 expands further on what kind of research I did, including what I would develop and create from the third week onto the fourth week of this project.

Research / Context

During the course of the week, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum and also the Natural History Museum, as I was keen to look for a large number of works and pieces that could relate to my experiments with anthropomorphism, as well as to how stop-frame animation works.

To develop my understanding further after the trip to the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, I chose a photo from the large range of photographs I took as a backdrop for my green-screen and location-shot videos. This would help me with producing my green-screen and location-shot videos, as I would be able to produce my videos in a format that would involve anthropomorphism using the sock puppet I created for the test film.

Practical Tasks Done

As a practical task, I had made sure to take some photographs while on the trip, as this would give me the chance to pick from the large number of photos that I took, which I would be able to use as a backdrop for my test videos, as well as doing some research based on certain items, objects or even certain sculptures.

I did initially find taking pictures around certain parts of both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum difficult at first, because I wanted to take photos in and around both museums, though there were certain parts of both museums that I wanted to visit, but weren’t able to due to there not being enough time. I was, however, able to get a large number of photos from the areas of both the museums that I visited on the 26th January 2016.

What worked well for me was I was able to get a large range of photos that would support and help me develop further with the stop-frame animation project, as the sculptures (e.g. Diplodocus Carnegii, also known as Dippy the Dinosaur), including the huge blue whale, as well as some of the die-cast models of some bi-planes, gave me some ideas as to how I could use them as examples for the sock puppets that we all created, for instance, how the sock puppets would move, and how they would act in the stop-frame animation anthropomorphism film.

To improve on it, I want to make sure that I can find out a lot more from both museums, and to also do some further in-depth research on anthropomorphism, so that I can get a better idea of how certain things work, and how I can apply my understandings of them to the stop-frame animation project.

Critical Analysis

For my critical analysis, I used the research and photos I gathered from both the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum to continue the development of the sock-puppet stop-frame animation film by working alongside three to four, if not, possibly five students on the film we’ve been developing for our green-screen and location experiments.

I feel that the research/contextual studies I’ve gathered from the Science Museum & Natural History Museum can be applied to help me develop my own experiments further with stop-frame animation, including anthropomorphism. I also feel that the research/contextual studies I’ve gathered as a result of visiting the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum will be able to help me develop and expand further on my own ideas of anthropomorphism, and I also believe this will be able to help me expand further with my own ideas on the stop-frame animation project.

This brings the fourth Weekly Log for the Stop-Frame Animation Project to a close. Please make sure to check back soon for the fifth Weekly Log from the Stop-Frame Animation Project.

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: January 2016

Well I’ve been quite a busy bee since we all welcomed in 2016 on New Year’s Day, but in the first few weeks of 2016, we have lost some notable icons of the film and music industry. On the 10th January 2016, David Bowie sadly passed away at the age of 69 from liver cancer, just two days after releasing his final album, Blackstar, and just four days after his passing, the Harry Potter actor, Alan Rickman also passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I’ve also just heard the news as of lunchtime that Sir Terry Wogan has sadly passed away today after a short battle with cancer. I must admit, I’m really shocked to hear of his passing, because I didn’t know he had cancer until his death was announced earlier today.

Please accept my sincere apologies if I wasn’t able to publish two tribute articles on both of them this month, it’s mainly been because of the fact I’ve been so busy with the current project that I’ve been on that I’ve had trouble with finding the time to do both of the tribute articles. Please don’t worry too much though, because they are currently being made and are in progress, and hopefully, fingers crossed, I can get them published over the course of February or March, depending on the workload I receive from college. I can promise you that I won’t be leaving them to chance, so I will be making sure to work on them as soon as I get a large amount of time on my hands. I can also promise you that I will be, in light of Sir Terry Wogan’s sudden passing earlier today, writing a tribute article on him to pay my full respects and condolences to him and his family at such a sad time.

To round off what has been a really good, but sad start to 2016, I will be taking a full look-back on the articles published over the course of this month.

1.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for the New Year, and with a redesigned appearance, I mentioned that Mother Nature had changed its colours to: “accommodate for a maturer appearance, given that Mother Nature has now evolved into more of a presentable appearance.” I also mentioned that I would be doing some housekeeping, as I would be taking down some articles and some pictures to free up the website space for Mother Nature.

I had also mentioned that this news had come as I wanted to get back to my roots fully of doing more photography articles. However, all wouldn’t be lost though, because any articles I would be taking down would have their spaces filled with some new articles, as I wanted Mother Nature to focus more on photography, but also on certain interests, as I don’t want to talk too much about one thing, knowing full well that the whole idea of this website is to be a photography site.

3.1.2016 – To kick 2016 off with a bang in terms of photography, I did the first Historical Photographer article for 2016 on Walker Evans, who is the second in the Historical Photographers series that I introduced back in December 2015. In this Historical Photographer article, I would talk about Walker Evans’ life, as well as the timeline of events that unfolded up until his death on the 10th April 1975.

Also on this day, I published an article based on my thoughts about maturity and communication in modern society, as I felt that in modern society, maturity was something that shouldn’t really go amiss, especially in our generation and in this day and age, but when it came to maturity in modern society, among many other areas of life, our generation unfortunately lack almost all of maturity.

6.1.2016 – As I wanted to make sure to keep to my promise of being more productive and by also promising to publish more articles on a frequent basis, I started by doing a topic that would focus on whether the media was responsible for promoting eating disorders and negative body image problems in young people. I did also mention that I would tread very carefully when it came to writing this article, as I knew something like this would be sensitive.

8.1.2016 – As I wanted to refer to studying in general, I decided to talk about study time, and whether a large workload from school, college or even university stressed you out. I mentioned that: “Although I believe study time is crucial, I have known on some, if not, a lot of occasions, that it can be stressful, especially when you’re in school, college or university. Over the course of last year, I did notice how stressful the workload was, because I would get on a number of occasions, a lot of work piled on top of me, which, when deadlines were around the corner, I would sometimes panic about any work that may have not been completed, and in a lot of cases, I would often get stressed out.”

15.1.2016 – As violent video games are overruling modern society and my generation nowadays, given that violence is one of the most controversial subjects to talk about, I thought it was good to create a topic of discussion based on whether you thought violent video games should be banned. In this article, I had made sure to give my reasons for why I felt they should be banned, and how banning violent video games could help to prevent the younger generations of today from being brainwashed into committing violence against those around them. I did keep in mind though that a topic like this one is often touchy, and that I would tread very carefully whilst talking about it.

18.1.2016 – As this is something that is close to my heart, which also often bothers me, vanity has been something that I’ve noticed in the real world. In this article, I wrote about how I’ve heard about all these celebrities who have either had work done or had something enhanced to boost their self-esteem, and the same has happened to some of those who aren’t famous at all, and it really bothered me how vanity could cause someone to change something about themselves when they don’t need to.

23.1.2016 – As gangs are becoming a major problem in modern-day life, I focused this topic of discussion on whether the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people. I did know for a fact that this was something that some people may be too afraid to talk about, but I decided to stand up and speak up about this topic in detail because I would not hide my views on gang culture, as I would make sure to outline in this topic whether I thought the media was responsible for making gang culture seem attractive to young people.

Also on this day, I published two more articles, one of which focused on my trip up to the Croydon Museum, as the museum contains so much information and research “based on a large number of photographers, as well as certain collector’s items, such as an old-fashioned retro 1950s car.”, while the third article was based on uplifting photo moments, given that I took a photo of Croydon College’s Rotunda, as well as getting a photo with The One Show’s Marty Jopson, who is such a nice guy and so down to earth.

30.1.2016 – With it being in the last couple of years since I last visited, and despite the fact my feet were killing me as a result of going up to London for this trip, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum with my class, and while we were there, I wanted to get some photos of the museum, considering that the last time I went, it had a dramatic overhaul in design, and not only that, but some or most parts of the museum had changed from when I made my first ever visit to the Science Museum.

Also, on the same day that I went up to London with my class for a trip to the Science Museum, we also went to the Natural History Museum to study further for our stop-frame animation project. While we were there, I also took a large number of photos, considering that I took a trip up to the Science Museum. It was also the first time in nearly 15 years since I last visited the Natural History Museum.

As I published both of these articles on this day, I wanted them both to be like a two-part photography article, in other words, a 2-in-1 article.

Thank you so much everyone for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me. I know this month hasn’t been as easy as first thought given that we’ve lost quite a few celebrity icons in the first few weeks, but to David Bowie, Alan Rickman & Sir Terry Wogan, all three of you will be remembered in our hearts forever and you shall never be forgotten.

Again, thank you for making the first month of 2016 a really good one for me, and I’ll see you all in February.

Alex Smithson

The Natural History Museum | Tuesday 26th January 2016

On the same day that I went up to London with my class for a trip to the Science Museum, we also went to the Natural History Museum to study further for our stop-frame animation project. While we were there, I also took a large number of photos, considering that I took a trip up to the Science Museum. It was also the first time in nearly 15 years since I last visited the Natural History Museum.

At the forefront of the museum was Dippy the Dinosaur (Diplodocus Carnegii), and not only that, but the enormous scale model of the blue whale was in full view, but there is a lot more information there now than there was before, and I won’t deny it, but it’s a very interesting museum that has a soft spot for photography.

When I went, I did find that the second floor of the museum was closed, as they are currently doing some improvements to the dinosaur gallery, and between now and the Summer of 2017, the Hintze Hall will be reimagined, as they will be laying bare the relationship between humans, and also the natural world. During the course of the re-display, they have said that some areas of the hall will be closed to the public, with some “specimens” being temporarily taken off of public view.

There is so much information at hand and it’s absolutely amazing and also absolutely interesting and fascinating to find out more about certain things that I didn’t know about before. I really enjoyed going there to view what was available and I’m absolutely pleased that I’ve been able to do more this time around than I did the last time I went.

On the way back after coming from both the Science Museum & the Natural History Museum, I took some photos of the tube and also in and around Victoria Station. A few of them are blurred deliberately, as I want these photos to be a blurred vision that will remind me of my trip up to both the Science Museum & the Natural History Museum.

To conclude, I will leave you with 5 questions:

  1. Have you ever been to the Natural History Museum?
  2. Was it your first time going up to the Natural Museum?
  3. What parts of the Natural History Museum did you enjoy the most?
  4. Do you plan on going to the Natural History Museum in the future?
  5. Most of all, do you love the Natural History Museum?

Alex Smithson

© Croydon College 2016.

© The Croydon College Logo is Copyright of Croydon College. Permission has been granted for the logo to be used on here. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

The Science Museum | Tuesday 26th January 2016

With it being in the last couple of years since I last visited, and despite the fact my feet were killing me as a result of going up to London for this trip, I went on a trip up to the Science Museum with my class, and while we were there, I wanted to get some photos of the museum, considering that the last time I went, it had a dramatic overhaul in design, and not only that, but some or most parts of the museum had changed from when I made my first ever visit to the Science Museum.

There is so much information that the museum can offer, and I must say, I absolutely enjoyed going there. I took quite a large number of photographs in and around the museum, especially outside the museum too. One of the photos I took inside may look like it was taken outside, considering I took it in a way where there was no reflection, but I can admit, there’s so much information at hand now than there was before, so it was safe to say that I wouldn’t go without any information in my hands.

Also, there are some photographs I took of some of the 3D Miniature Models while in the Science Museum, and just by looking at them, they can be easy to mistake for landscape photographs, or even paintings in that matter. Please do keep in mind though that the photo that shows the tractor and the big tree was slightly cropped to give the photo more depth, and to make it look a lot more presentable for viewing.

Overall, despite the fact my feet were absolutely killing me by the time I got home, it’s safe to say that I absolutely enjoyed my trip up to the Science Museum with my class, and I hope to go up there again at some point in the future.

To conclude, I will leave you with 5 questions:

  1. Have you been to the Science Museum before?
  2. What parts of the Science Museum did you visit?
  3. Is there a certain piece of work there that you like?
  4. If it’s not the first time you’ve been to the Science Museum, when was the last time you went?
  5. What did you enjoy the most about the Science Museum?

Alex Smithson

© Croydon College 2016.

© The Croydon College Logo is Copyright of Croydon College. Permission has been granted for the logo to be used on here. No Copyright Infringement Intended.