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 January 25, 2021

By  Annabelle

Animation type:

Stop motion

The idea behind my animation:

My animation type will be stop motion and throughout the video I will be using different foods and transforming them into life-like things by making them act just like people. I will use sound to portray the food’s emotions and will play out a whole story as if the foods are live things.

Chosen sub-channel:

Vault Real - Why? Reality TV can be funny, dramatic, happy, sad, and messy. The quirky feeling of my animation demonstrates the similar characteristics that reality TV has. I will portray this through including food being silly around each other and annoying each other. The food’s characteristics will be conveyed using sound and the feeling of the video will be conveyed through my choice of music.

Equipment I will need:

  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • Video editor software
  • Objects used in the animation

Food I’m using:

  • Toast
  • Peanut butter
  • Banana

Story

Peanut butter creates a trail and climbs over the toast. Peanut butter goes home and back into the jar. Another toast comes along, and the banana sits on the toast. It then mushes out all over the toast. To end, text spells out ‘Vault Real’ and the blue text comes in and matches up with the text underneath. The dark blue background comes in and we are left with ‘Vault Real’ written in blue writing on a purple-navy dark background.

Cut into sections:

First Section: Peanut butter on toast – 3 seconds

Second Section: Peanut butter goes home – 2 seconds

Third Section: Banana on toast – 3 seconds

Fourth Section: Text spells out ‘Vault Real’ - 3 seconds

Fifth Section: Videos of toast popping up and jar being opened are added – 7 Seconds

Next Step: Assembling into full Video – 16 seconds

Last Step: Adding in text, background, sound and music – concludes as a 24 second video


Challenges I discovered and overcame

To start the process we looked at all kinds of animations that we could take inspiration from. There was a good mixture of stop motion, Claymation, live action animation and cut out animation. One of the videos stood out to me as something I could do. It’s by someone called Pez and had a really cool idea behind it. They used objects to imitate food. I really liked this, so at first, I wanted to do this and I began planning for it. 

However I had no idea where to start in terms of planning. I felt that I couldn’t think of anything. From the objects I could use to the food I wanted to imitate. It was all a bit overwhelming. 

Eventually the idea morphed into food becoming like live people. I selected food that I thought would be good to use. I went with peanut butter, toast and banana. And then came up with ideas for what the food could do. This was the point when I was settled with a solid idea of what I wanted to do. 

The actual filming was definitely not smooth to begin with. I felt like giving up when I looked at the first set of pictures and they had all come out grainy and yellow. I didn’t know what to do to fix this issue at first so I was quite worried. Luckily, my dad knew what had gone wrong and showed me how to fix this issue. We decreased the shutter speed to 100 and made sure to put a timer on when taking pictures so that it stopped the small vibrations that happen when you push down to take a picture. My hope was that this would remove the graininess. We also adjusted the white balance so that it was on auto white balance. This evened out the colour tone of all the images. 

After this I gave a third attempt and the photos finally came out how I wanted them to. They were clear and sharp and the tone of each image was really good. 

When trying to put the text in I wanted to be creative with it so I wanted to use peanut butter to write out the letters. To help me with this I printed out some big letters and cut them out to use as templates. I attempted to write out the letters using the peanut butter as I used the templates to help. In the end I believed the templates were actually just making it harder as I was having to lift them up to be to draw with the peanut butter underneath. The peanut butter was also extremely hard to work with. It was very fiddley and it became impossible trying to form words using it. So I abandoned this idea and came up with a second one. 

The second idea for the text was to use the letters I had printed out and have them all gradually pop up one at a time. To do this, I placed them all down neatly in front of the frame and removed them one at a time while taking pictures. In the editor the plan was to put the images in reverse so that the letters appeared gradually rather than disappearing. This did look good individually, but for the next stage of the video I wanted to have the official blue coloured text to dissolve in over the top. This was when I hit a problem. The text didn’t line up with the text underneath so the effect I was going for didn’t work. I knew there was a way around this but the downside was that it wouldn’t be as creative or interesting. The third plan I came up with for the text was to use regular text from the editor and have it gradually pop up one by one similar to the idea I had before. I certainly didn’t like this as much due to the fact that it was far less interesting. It wasn’t as impressive and it frustrated me that my video had gone from being unique and well matched to looking entirely normal. However, besides all this, it did mean that the video was neat looking and the effect I wanted was finally created.


Filming

When choosing where to film, I had to think about how the lighting would look, and the story. I decided to film it in my kitchen since it fit the food theme best. I set up a tripod and camera and made sure it was focused on the main object, in this case, the toast. I set the white balance by using a piece of white paper. This helps the camera understand what white should look like which supposedly fixes the image’s colour tone.

I began taking images while using a spoon to move the peanut butter along the work surface. I will say that this was proving to be a very messy challenge as peanut butter tends to want to go in its own direction, as I’ve recently learnt. On the first day of filming, I encountered a problem with the white balance. When looking at the images on the computer, they looked yellow and grainy. When trying to work out why this was, I came to three ideas. The first one was that the camera was moving slightly as I was pushing the button to take pictures. The second reason is the shutter speed was too slow and the last reason was that the lighting wasn’t good which also contributes to grainy look.

When filming for the third time, I made sure to use a two second timer on the camera to stop any slight camera movement. I fixed the shutter speed and made it quicker, focused the camera properly and put the camera on auto white balance. The images ended up coming out near to perfect after making all these changes. I used the same settings each time I filmed for a reliable outcome.

Filming with the peanut butter

The peanut butter was hard to work with because it’s sticky and gloopy. I used a spoon to move it along between each shot, however, quite often the peanut butter would go its own way and I would have to fix it with a paper towel. The main challenge was making sure that the peanut butter moved the same amount each time. Because of this, I was careful when directing it with the spoon.

White balance editing

When looking at the images side by side in the editor (HitFilm Express), they were fairly even in colour tone but there were noticeable differences image to image. I added a white balance effect to every image and started changing the tone of colour in all of them to make the white balance in each image look identical.

At first it was a slow process as I didn’t fully understand how each colour tone worked. However, after playing with the three sliders for a while I learnt that each one represented a different colour channel. One added a red tone, one added a green tone, and one added a blue tone which helps decrease the amount of yellow in the image. Soon enough, I was able to look at an image and know exactly what colours I needed to change in the image. I went through every image and checked that the tone of each image was the same as the previous one. This makes them look the same so that when all the images are put together to form stop motion, the colour temperature didn’t constantly fluctuate in the stop motion.

Creating the animations

To turn the images into a smooth animation, I made the duration of each image 0.03 seconds long and selected ‘delete gap’ between each one. Once this is done, when watching back through it, it should look like a motion video instead of still images. I did this for each section of my video and exported them separately, so they were easier to work with while editing.

Editing the whole video

Since my chosen sub-channel was Vault Real, I knew I would need to place it in the video somewhere. So, I took a plain image of the work surface thought it would be better to drag it out and have the letters come in one by one to form the words. Since the actual logo is aqua blue, I decided to have the blue text come up over the grey text as it would be an exceptionally clean entrance.

When choosing the music, I wanted it to match the fun feel of my video, so I went for something acoustic sounding and chirpy. I also made the text gradually appearing match the music well by keeping it on beat.

I wanted to take one of the foods used in the video, in this case, the banana, and have it pop up next to the logo at the end. I thought it would be good to do this since it would add another interesting factor to my video. To create the animation of the banana coming in and jumping before leaving again, I firstly grabbed a picture of a banana without a background. I moved it to the far side of the frame where it would start its journey. I then cut it, so the image covered two frames, and moved the next part along the frame. I continuously did this until the banana had reached halfway through its motion. I then took all the images and placed them next to each other but the other way around, so it became reverse. This shows the banana leaving the frame the way it entered. Doing animations in reverse speeds things up and makes the animation look more consistent.

I wanted the beginning of the video to include all the foods being placed. I took the toast, peanut butter and banana and took some quick and simple videos of each food being placed. This section of the video is to set the scene and gives a reason as to why the foods are interacting. They aren’t just there in the video.

Adding sound

The key idea with my video is that the peanut butter and banana are annoying the toast, so I wanted to choose sounds to replicate that. How about, the peanut butter and banana are cheeky children, and the slices of toast are frustrated grown men? I searched up on Audio Hero, where I got the sounds from, sounds of giggling children. I got lots of variety to choose from and chose my favourite sounds that I knew would fit best. I also searched up for frustrated man sounds and got a few options which I selected and downloaded for my video. I placed them in the video according to where they suited best. This added so much character to the food and made the video so much more interesting.

Overview of the project

Once I had completed all of this, my video was done. The thing I enjoyed most about this project was the sense of experimentation and working with things I had never done before. There was a lot that I attempted that needed to be changed and it was in general a huge learning experience.

Final video:

Final video with intro:

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