The Elwins – So Down Low by Alan Poon

Post-its are a tool of choice for the pixelated minds of our ADD information age and here, elusive auteur, Alan Poon, uses them to pull off another fun yet deftly woven short in this music video for the Elwins. Poon has an innate sense of timing, framing and idiosyncratically spot-on progression. If you have never watched it, his strangely entrancing music video for the Bowerbirds in 2008,”In our Talons,” is a must see. Read on as the director shares with us how he and his animation team used some favorite Dragonframe tools to exercise hi-fi lo-fi prowess.

Director Alan Poon:

    The Elwins had seen some of my past work for Zeus and Broken Social Scene and asked me if I could help them make a stop-motion animated video that used Post-It notes – that was their only guideline! They were super-keen on participating and they had done a little stop-motion piece before, so I was happy to get them involved and create something with them participating as much as possible. The video starts simple and gradually moves to something much more complicated; each moment raising the bar on the last. The huge grid you see at the end uses over one-thousand Post-it notes to create the final animations!

    I enlisted the help of some close collaborators: Stop-motion animator Evan DeRushie, Technical guru Philip Eddolls, and Doodle superstar Martin MacPherson. We all put our heads together and made the video over the course of several weeks. The band was great to work with and came up with many of their own ideas and even performed in the video using a stop-motion technique called “pixilation” whereby we animate them frame-by-frame to make them slide across the floor and other fun but impossible moves.

    It was a really special video to work on and I think the results reflect the band’s energy and enthusiasm for creating all things with a fun and unique quality to them.

    The Post-it singer at the beginning was achieved using the Lip-Sync tool! The “export AE time-remap keyframes” was extremely useful to us for creating singing face-sets in post production.

    We got the band members to float by simply jumping and taking their picture each time. It was a nod to Norman McLaren’s “Neighbours”, a film we all watched when we were younger. When shooting the pixilation we needed an instant shutter, so we put the program in Watch Folder mode and triggered the camera with the EOS utility. All the stills would import, and we could have playback right away.

    Stop-motion animating real people presents a real challenge – you have to work fast so they don’t tire out. Each individual reacts differently to the directions you give them, so you have to be really on your toes with each performer – ultimately they’re their own animator and you’re just helping them along, teaching them the basics of animation. I think the band really had fun with this section and us coming up with different ideas to try – it was always fun watching over each person’s moves right after they are finished. It’s movie-magic in its simplest form!

Thanks, Alan. We will look forward to your next magically memorable memo. -Dragonframe


blog by Vera Long

2015-07-27T15:28:48+00:00