Will Vinton, a legend in the development of commercial stop motion animation in the United States, died yesterday at the age of 70. The cause of death was multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells, which he had battled for over a decade.
Vinton started making clay animation films in the 1970s, and won the Academy Award for his 1974 film Closed Mondays, that he co-directed with Bob Gardiner. He established Will Vinton Productions Portland, Oregon in the late 1970s. The studio employed and trained hundreds of stop motion artists throughout the 1980s and ’90s. In 2002, the studio reformed as Laika under the direction of Travis Knight, the four-time Oscar-nominated studio responsible for films like Coraline, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.
Laika Studios art director Alice Bird shares new details about Laika's 5th film, the upcoming movie "Missing Link," scheduled release date April 2019. Click here to read the online article over at KPTV.
During our live show this past Wednesday, a little controversy was stirred up. What was it all about? It was because Marc brought up the topic of virtual reality and stop motion. VR is an exciting new field that allows for immersive experiences and a new camera will change stop motion in the future. Perhaps Henry Selick will read this and have an "AHA" moment. Henry has always been forward thinking and this technology is something he and other animators may start to embrace.
The technology is Googles 6DoF Light Field VR camera. If you want to read about the new camera and how it works, this article explains quite a lot. If you want to see for yourself the results and you have an Oculus Rift or Vive, Steam has a free download to test it out over here.
In a nut shell, the still images allow for a user to see real physical objects in space before them. The viewer can also move side to side and up and down and see slightly around the objects, just as in real life without a VR headset. How is this technology different than say the consumer 180/360 degree QooCam? Those cameras allow only for slight head movements in 180 degree mode before the image is distorted. No side to side motion is allowed by the user as well.
Where will this new tech take us? Only time will tell, but we should definitely not be afraid to use these as a new advantage and pioneering way of telling stories through our art form.
I love the free stop motion comedy series from Sony Crackle, “SuperMansion.” If you’re not already familiar with it, "SuperMansion" comes from many of the same people as the long-running Adult Swim “Robot Chicken.” But the production values are higher, and there’s less potty humor. Still some, of course, but the writing is definitely at a higher level. But instead of focusing on pop culture and nostalgic toys, it's a superhero-centric show. Aging superhero Titanium Rex -- voiced by Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston (Call me Heisenberg!)-- has long headed the League of Freedom, a once-proud group of heroes that is on the decline due to an influx of heroes from the millennial generation who have little interest in fighting crime. Rex ends up mentoring the young warriors in the SuperMansion, where they live together, as they try to learn to fight for justice, liberty and the need to stay relevant to society. The series also features the voice work of one of the Hollywood Chris’s, this time it’s Chris “Captain Kirk” Pine.
The second half of season 3 premiers October 4th. Oh and did I say it’s free? Click here to see the trailer
The Festival Stop Motion is perhaps the Premiere stop motion festival in the world. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year’s event will evaluate 58 films from 23 countries. Public screenings will take place throughout the festival. Major names from the world of stop-motion and puppetry — including the United Kingdom’s Tim Allen (Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride) and Amanda Strong of Vancouver — will offer seminar-sized master classes at this year’s festival. This year’s festival will be September 14-16th. Personally I think the entire Stop Motion Magic community should plan on meeting and partying there next year! Click here http://www.stopmotionmontreal.com/ for more information.
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