The tagline for a new seven-minute short from Australia reads, “Lost & Found is a stop motion short film that tugs at the heartstrings.” While the tag may at first may seem like general sentimentality, it becomes quite sharp when you watch the trailer.
Lost & Found is about a knitted toy dinosaur who has to unravel itself to save the love of its life: an knitted toy fox. So the unraveling of the yarn (by way of tugging) is cleverly more than just a plotline. Ultimately this metaphor for what we would do for love turns out to be beautifully shown.
This heartfelt piece is the work of Bradley Slabe, Andrew Goldsmith, and Lucy Hayes for Wabi Sabi Studios. We spoke with producer Lucy Hayes directly about the piece and she told us a bit about their process. “The entire film was shot using Dragonframe, paired with DOP Gerald Thompson’s own custom designed motion control software (Mantis) and hardware,” Hayes explained. “The entire set was built at full scale–as our heroes are dolls that live in the human world.”
One of the most notable aspects of the film is all of the water and since this can be quite hard to do in stop motion, we asked Hayes about if it was troublesome. She agreed that the water was one of their biggest challenges saying, “Lots of R&D and experimentation in pre-production led to us using many different materials and techniques: hair gel, melted acetate, bubble wrap, and ‘personal lubricant’…The water effects were also the most time consuming element to animate and many hours were spent herding individual water drops around with a toothpick or precariously balancing shredded pieces of bubble wrap into the perfect shape for splash effects.”
Another challenge, Hayes told us, was, “dealing with particularly delicate and hard to control materials such as a single woolen thread or small pieces of wool stuffing. Super thin armatures and lightweight rigs made of florist wire were employed to control the more delicate elements.
“Due to the life size scale of the set it wasn’t always possible to elevate everything to a comfortable height for the animator the reach. A number of shots involved our animator sitting on a kind of skateboard/trolley and wheeling along the floor to animate the characters and then back to the camera to capture the frame.”
For more on the process, click here to watch a behind the scenes video of the film: