Stop-motion films are still popular, to some extent, as they can be a fun project for many film-makers. Essentially a mix of photography and cinema, they also can be a lot of detail-oriented hard work, especially in Nokia’s new flick.
Sumo Science at Aardman created this stop-motion film called “Gulp” for Nokia; sure it’s mostly a marketing stunt, but it’s a mighty fine one. Not only does this short film break the record for the largest stop-motion animation set, it’s also filmed entirely on a Nokia N8 touch screen phone. Boasting a 12 megapixel camera and Carl Zeiss optics, the Nokia N8 proves its stuff by recording this animation beautifully.
You can likely tell on your first viewing that much of the animation in this film is the result of sand art, drawing images in the sand which is used as the backdrop for the whole thing. The waves, clouds, birds, and much more are basically nothing more than lines in the sand, if very pretty ones. The boat is apparently just a small rowboat with a comically small cabin which serves to make the finished product look cartoon-like. It all becomes more impressive when you imagine how many of the sand creations had to be drawn, erased, and drawn again to simulate the movement, as the waves and clouds “move” at different speeds. There are also some interesting perspective shifts, which are quite easily implemented when you think about it, but almost mind-bending when you first see them implemented.
The most interesting scene, in my opinion, is the one which takes place in the giant fish’s stomach. Creatures lurk about in the background, but the centerpiece is a giant depth charge upon which the fisherman’s boat is precariously balanced. This scene was filmed at night with some interesting lighting techniques to make it seem enclosed unlike the open sea shots before. Whether the green and red-orange tints are done with lighting effects or actual coloring of the sand, they’re equally impressive and really make the depth charge come to life. It soon explodes and launches the fisherman back to the surface in his boat, while various pieces of nautical gear splash into the water, rising to the “surface” to float on the fake ocean, which is a very nice touch. The whole scene stretches over 11,000 square feet, and the images should give a better idea of the scale of this project. For more fun stop-motion films, I highly recommend The Avengers’ Black Widow Gone Wild and this Clay Animation Chess Film.