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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.

London Sculpture | Stop Motion Animation for Chisel and Mouse

Stop Motion Animation for Chisel & Mouse

After creating the Battersea Power Station stop motion for Chisel & Mouse, they asked me to create a stop motion animation for their London sculpture.

The Brief

The initial brief for this stop motion wasn’t too different to the brief that I had for the Battersea Power Station animation. Create something that would bring life to the sculpture. The basis of the brief was as follows.

  • 30 second animation

  • Bring the sculpture to life

As with the Battersea Power Station animation, Chisel & Mouse gave me a lot of creative freedom with this stop motion. After having the sculpture in my hands for a couple of days, admiring it’s beauty and detail from all angles, I arrived at the idea that I pitched to Chisel & Mouse.

  • 30 second animation

  • 5 different angles to show the sculpture from all sides and one overhead view.

  • Trace out as accurately as possible the tube lines that run through this portion of London, using coloured wool.

  • Each angle would be approximately the same length - 6 seconds

Chisel & Mouse loved the pitched idea and off I went planning and shooting.

The Planning

As with all stop motion animations, the planning is typically the hardest and most time consuming part of the process. This animation was no different. The hardest part of this planning was overlaying a map of the tube lines onto the area that this sculpture covers. I wanted the tube lines to be as accurate as possible and spent a lot of time ensuring that my overlaid map matched the area of the sculpture.

I learned during this that the tube lines do tend to follow the overground roads… mostly. There are some areas where the actual tube line runs underneath building as opposed to roads, but for the most part the tend to follow the roads overhead. I couldn’t run my coloured wool under the buildings in the sculpture, so when the line does run under a building, I had the wool follow the roads closest to it.

After finalising the routes, I then had to decide on the shots, angles, lighting, and what line to run in each shot. I wanted each shot to show the detail of the different areas of London that are highlighted in the sculpture. I also wanted the lighting to be realistic to the sunlight in London. To maximise the detail in the sculpture, I finally decided on an early morning sunlight. This created longer shadows from the buildings and gave each building more shadows to show off the detail of windows, doors, and building features.

The Shooting

This stop motion animation didn’t require any props created before I could shoot like the Battersea animation or the Zeiss animation. For this, all I needed was wool that was in corresponding colours to the different tube lines.

Once I had the wool, I setup my lighting and positioned the sculpture in a direction that ensured the lighting was correct in replicating early morning sunlight in London. Since I had already determined the angles that I wanted to shoot, it was simply a matter of shooting each angle with it’s tube line and moving onto the next one.

Below is one still from each angle that I shot for this animation.

The Northern Line running through London

The Northern Line running through London

The Metropolitan Line running through London

The Metropolitan Line running through London

The District Line running through London

The District Line running through London

The Central Line running through London

The Central Line running through London

The Circle Line running through London

The Circle Line running through London

Conclusion

This was a great stop motion to create. Getting to see the detail of the sculpture up close is what made it so great. Composing angles that highlighted the detail and bringing this amazing sculpture to life was simply amazing.

What tube line is your favourite? Which tube line is your least favourite? For me, the Central Line is the answer to both. It gets you everywhere, but is always crowded and running late.