For a complete listing of my Halloween Projects, please click here.
Hey everyone, it’s great to see you all again! I certainly hope that the last year has treated you kindly and that you’re all doing well in your various crypts, lairs & decaying manors.
Okay, okay — let’s get down to business, huh? October is finally here and that means it’s time for another one of my annual “Halloween projects that I’m using as an excuse to try new stuff” posts. Yeah! All right!
Since I figured that whatever I did would be unlikely to match the over-the-topness of last year’s Eerie Publications/ Johnson-Smith “Horror Record” mashup (and let me just pause here to say that the reaction to that video was absolutely mind-blowingly amazing to me. Tweeted by Harry Knowles! Championed by Poison Ivy! Played in-house at the Alamo Drafthouse and Cinefamily theaters! I don’t think I could ever have predicted such an awesome collection of responses for something so replete with severed heads and werewolf-on-vampire gore, so thanks again one and all) — wait, where was I? Oh yeah — since I doubted I could mimic THAT vibe, this year I decided to try and take things in a less gruesome direction by giving myself a project that might teach me a few new tricks while simultaneously paying homage to another (and slightly more kid-friendly) corner of my mental Halloween time-machine brain.
I’m sure that by now most of you have come to the same conclusion as me: time to make a stop motion video for one of my favorite childhood songs and shoot the whole thing using an iPhone and the “Hipstamatic” photo app. Perfect!
Okay so here, (if you’re interested that is) is way too much info around what that little story looked like:
Choosing the song was actually easy enough — ever since I was 5 or so I’ve been in love with the Kay Lande and Wade Denning “Halloween: Games, Songs and Stories” record (here’s my Scar Stuff write up from March of 2006), and as far as children’s Halloween tunes go I think the opening track comes pretty damn close to perfection. So yeah — song: check.
The decision to use the iPhone actually took me a bit longer to get to, but it made total sense thanks to some evolving patterns in my creative projects/art/WhateverYouWannaCallIt over the last year or so. Basically I’ve been playing with the idea of using my phone as a kind of creative Swiss Army Knife; shooting video of random events so I can do more editing, getting reacquainted with the idea of always having a camera around, and generally just trying to approach every day as having the potential to become a document-able project of some sort (the results aren’t always pretty, but now and then I will post examples over at my JasonWillis.com site.)
In particular I found that I was having a lot of fun using the Hipstamtic photo app on my phone, and quickly enough my to-do list became rife with time-draining ideas like “Gridstamatic Collages” (which are cubist type grids composed of multiple square images that kinda-sorta form a whole when taken in at once, sometimes in conjunction with a hardware accessory like the macro OlloClip lens [also used here in the Halloween video]), and “Tucson Motels Are Anxious for Your Patronage” (which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like).
So all that was missing was the stylistic component, and since I-have-always-loved-but-have-never-done-any-stop-motion, I finally decided to mix everything together and give this combo of elements a shot (well, more like several thousand shots). I started out with a few crude photo tests in the second week of September, and just last night I managed to export the complete mess via Final Cut Pro. It was a little more intensive that I thought it would be (see the “Post Mortem” below), but I genuinely had a great time and I truly hope that you guys dig the results.
And hey — Happy Halloween everyone!
This project was a huge amount of fun, but it was also just WAY more work than I thought it would be. In fact to all you professional stop motion folks let me just say: Holy Crap! You are clearly wired with a tremendous amount of patience.
Another thing that I didn’t really factor in is that the Hipstamtic app can only (currently) process a maximum of 9 photos during any given stretch. That certainly slowed some image capture sessions down but to be honest those pauses were usually pretty helpful because I ALSO needed way more time to build the little characters, props & environments for every scene in here than I had initially envisioned. Obviously I need to work on both my time estimate and time management skills.
Still, and with all of that said, I’d totally do it again. The end result is almost exactly what I hoped it would be: a mishmash of styles, aesthetics and techniques, all wrapped up in a 60’s-70’s home-movie vibe. I had fun, I learned a huge amount, and I had a good excuse to buy a whole bunch of cheesy Halloween toys. All in all I’d call that a pretty win/win/win scenario; I heartily recommend that anyone so inclined give it a try.
And finally, if you’d like to check out some uncropped stills (and all of my Hipstamatic setting details), below is a gallery of images representing each video segment, along with some behind-the-scenes type jive. Most of my favorite Hipstamtic combos make an appearance, and this project even helped me cipher out a few new ones that I really liked. Hooray!