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George Fairbairn
Photography, Social Media Content, and Stop Motion

Commissions

More detail about some of the work I have been commissioned for.

Zeiss Milvus | Stop Motion Animation

Zeiss Milvus Stop Motion Animation

In April of 2018, I was asked by Zeiss if I could create a 30 second stop motion for them featuring their Milvus cinematic lens kit. The kit itself was a complete set. Four lenses, 4 focus rings and a case.

The Brief

For Zeiss, there were three areas of importance that needed to be the focus of the stop motion.

  • The kit included 4 lenses

  • The kit included 4 focus rings

  • The case was included and water proof and shock resistant.

The last one was the most important and was the purpose of the stop motion animation. Below is the final brief that we settled on before I started storyboarding and finalising.

30 second stop motion, on white. Show the case and that it comes with 4 lenses and 4 focus rings. Show that the case was water proof with both rain and being submerged. Show that the case could withstand impact and shock. Show that the lenses in the case were safe after experiencing rain, being submerged, and withstanding impact. Keep it fun and cartoon like.

The Planning

The above brief isn’t word for word, but it is the basis for what I started with. Once we had established those basics, I set about how I wanted to show rain, being submerged, and impact in a cartoon and fun stop motion. After thinking about different ideas and how I could do them, I finally settled on a plan. The final idea that was approved by Zeiss was as follows.

Case sits empty and closed on white. Lenses and focus rings come into the frame. Case opens and all lenses and focus rings go into the case and the case closes. Rain clouds come into the frame and it starts raining. It rains so much that the case get submerged in a flood. The flood recedes. Large rocks fall onto the case and bounce off. Case alone and closed on white. Case opens, lenses and focus rings come out and line themselves around the case. Case closes. Zeiss spot ending.

The Shooting

Shooting this stop motion was one of the most involved stop motions that I have created to date. I spent days cutting out clouds, rain drops, and water splashes. It was these details, I feel, that make the stop motion what it is. Below are images showing some of the detail that went into the stop motion.

Stop_motion_cloud_detail.jpg

Cloud Detail

Closeup detail of the cloud formations I created with coloured card. Different shapes and shades help make it more “realistic”

Stop_motion_rain_detail.jpg

Rain Detail

Closeup of the raindrops I created with coloured card. Different shapes and shades gave it a more “realistic” feel.

Stop_motion_splash_detail.jpg

Splash Detail

Closeup of the splashes that I cut out and created. These little splashes, though subtle, really made it feel real.

Amazingly the clouds, rain, and splashes weren’t the hardest part of creating this stop motion. It was the most time consuming (many nights were spent in front of Netflix with a pair of scissors), but it wasn’t the hardest.

The hardest was creating the case being submerged. We wanted to stick with the coloured card theme for this part of the animation, and that posed the greatest logistical challenge. How was I going to make this look as good as the rain? How was it going to be possible?

I then had an “ah-ha” moment. I could build a frame, and that is exactly what I did. I drew rough sketches of what I envisioned the shot to look like and then put that into reality. It required me creating two darker shapes to be “behind” the case and one lighter shape that I mounted on a wooden frame I constructed. This allowed me to slowly slide the frame over the case and then slide it off again when the water receded. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of the frame. But, I do have images of the water shapes.

Stop_motion_flood_detail_small.jpg

Water Detail

To create depth, I made two layers of water. The one “behind” the case is darker than the one on top. Slight waves in the design give more realism.

Finished

All in all this stop motion took two weeks to complete. That includes time finalising the brief and timeline, cutting out shapes (not on the dance floor), shooting and editing. The result (at the top of the page) was a stop motion that Zeiss absolutely loved.

One of the huge benefits of stop motion animation is that it is just a series of high resolution photographs. This means that any frame in the stop motion is also an image that can be used to accompany the advertising campaign. Below are some of the images from the shoot that Zeiss used as well.

Stop_motion_Zeiss_stills.jpg
Stop_motion_Zeiss_stills_1.jpg
Stop_motion_Zeiss_stills_2.jpg

Conclusion

This stop motion was one of the most fun stop motion animations that I have created. It was challenging, creative, and fun. Moving hundreds of rain drops at the same time frame by frame was a little rough on the kneed, but fun!

I am always happy to answer questions. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.