Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Postman Pat not to be dubbed in the USA

Postman Pat has been shown in over 100 countries and dubbed into many languages including Dutch, Gaelic and Catalan. Pat's proved that he's not a member of the "Yakuza", a Japanese gang famous for only having 3 fingers, by being shown on Disney TV in Japan, dubbed into Japanese.

Now Pat's finally made it onto the free networks and digital channels via Qubo a network specialising in children's television. The show will be show in it's origional format, uncut and not dubbed. The brand management company Entertainment Rights are looking forward to being able to promote the programmes and associated merchandise such as the Postman Pat Magazine and Postman Pat Toys.

The first series of the show was animated by Ivor Wood who is also famous for Padington, The Wombles, The Magic Roundabout, Charlie Chalk and the Herbs. Now the show is made by Cosgrove Hall the people responsible for Chorlton and the Wheelies, Dangermouse, Noddy, Engie Benji and Fifi.

Buy a Postman Pat DVD at the AceAnimation Shop.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Top weekend for turtles

The TMNT are number 1 in the US box office this weekend. Thats the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for those of you who are too young to remember them. The audiences were half nostalgic adults and half kids getting in on the new craze.

I've not seen the film yet but from the clips the turtles are back on top form with plenty of comic action as we would expect. My only disappointment was the voice for Splinter sounding completely different to previously.
Another interesting fact that I discovered today about the Turtles is that they each have their own MySpace pages.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Secrets of Oscar-winning Animation: Behind the Scenes of 13 Classic Short Animations

A new book shortly to be available via online bookstores looks at the techniques, storyboards and sketches of Oscar winning films from 1952 through to 2003. The book includes interviews, behind the scenes photos, stills and sketches from this diverse range of styles of animation.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stumble Video

Stumble Video is a new service from Stumbleupon. Like their website service this connects you to content without you needing to search for it. In a similar manner to how a social networking site connects you to similar minded people this service uses the users to make the links and make the ratings.

"Stumble Video automatically finds and plays videos that match your interests. All you have to do is press Stumble! and rate the videos you watch. Stumble Video recommends great videos based on your ratings, and the ratings from other like-minded users."

Currently stumble video works with Youtube, Myspace and Google Video

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How to Cast Small Metal and Rubber Parts

A book that I just discovered which could come in very handy for other Stop Motion animators. "How to Cast Small Metal and Rubber Parts" is suitable for those who are interested in making their own models or armatures. The book goes into loads of detail on how to cast brass, bronze, other metals and rubber. It also covers how to setup you workshop, selection of materials and how much it would cost. Given that's there's a few copies of this on the site for less that a £5 there's no reason that amateur stop motion model makers should not be making their own parts.

Other handy books can be found at the Aceanim Shop - Stop Motion

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Body Scanning

In a new technique for laser scanning bodies it has become much simpler for animators to map the movements of one person onto the body of another. The developers believe it will simplify the customising computer games and other person based graphics.

The technique is different to that used at the Millenium dome in 2000 which used multiple photographs to scan me (see below).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

America, America

Captain America aka Steve Rogers was assassinated this week. However this is not the first time Rogers has died. Shortly after WWII Rogers fell in the arctic ocean and was frozen for several decades. Some fans are claiming that the death is a fake but perhaps this time Steve will stay dead.

Despite having bought Pixar and their CGI skills, Disney has decided to make their new film the Frog Princess in 2D using traditional hand drawn techniques. The film stars Maddy (above), a series of songs and is based in New Orleans. Perhaps McDs will be providing a Alligator happy meal to go the the inevitable merchandisig that will come with the film?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not a sausage

Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners (DLKW) , gives us a reason not to fast forward or turn off when the adverts come on with their dark mechanical look at the sausage factory like process of selecting a new pair of spectacles. The advert switches from the dark old fashioned factory to the modern, clean and personable opticians service.

This new animation (and branding) for Dolland and Aitchison is from the same people as brought us the "C'Mon" advert and also adverts for the National Blood service.

Script resources

Today I stumbled across (with some help from the Stoic Talk newsletter) a series of resources for script writers. This would have been brilliant about 2 years ago when I was evolving the script for the Flea Circus for which the review process consisted of a series of discussions down the pub or ideas thought up whilst wandering with a cigar. These were followed by a revision of the script followed by more discussions weeks later. Of course the actual reading out loud of the script was the greatest test of it's quality and Olivier who voiced the Ring Master made some on the fly changes when he did the reading.

So you don't make my mistakes, here's some links.

New Producers Alliance
Straight Curve
The Script Factory

The NPA is a charity with a series of events including the script tank, "after reading, the writer and/or producer/director are given feedback and constructive criticism aimed at helping them to redraft and market their work"

Straight Curve is a company that provides training on script writing, comedy, sound and general film making. It also has facilities available.

The Script Factory claims to be Europe's Premier Script Development Organisation and provides networking and training for script writers as well as a Script Writing Diploma course.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Animated Adventures Exhibition

For those who want to see how animation is made there is the Animated Adventures Exhibition in Liverpool's World Museum. The exhibition looks into the whole of the creative process and is on from now till August. Visitors can experiment with lighting, sound and character creation.

Exhibitors include Timothy Albee, Aardman Annimation, Banjax, Evan Cagle, D7 Studios, Michael Sormann and Richard Vaucher.

Aardman was given high praises this month in 3D World Magazine which also contains tutorials on animals and fur, a free copy of Curvy 3D and reviews of Ghost Rider and the latest news and events.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Films go digital

The cost of printing on film and distributing the reels are large, the film projector mechanisms are costly to maintain and require experts to maintain. This all adds up to higher costs for cinema goers and less profits for the film makers. Some cinemas such as the one in Leicester square have been digital for some time now but the films are still "printed" onto a hard disk rather than a film and distributed physically. Approximately 7% of the cinemas in the US have digital projection.

Given the improvements in networking recently this old style process could be a thing of the past. In a collaboration between several distributors and cinemas the idea of sending films over the wire. The Digital Cinema Implementation Partners believe that they will be able in increase the flexibility of cinemas and provide greater supply for hit films and for niche films to have short runs at no additional cost.

In the home video market there are plans too with the DVD Forum in Tokyo approving the CSS Managed Recording Specification. This technolgy would initially allow kiosks and shops to download and burn DVDs on demand for playback at home. It is believed that the new format would work with the majority of home players.

This all looks very promising but Peter Broderick a consultant from Paradigm thinks that the cinemas need to Rethink Film Distribution completely.

Fantastic Mr Fox

The Roald Dahl classic the The Fantastic Mr Fox is being released in Stop Motion, directed by Wes Anderson. Alex McDowell and Henry Selick will be in charge of the animation have a fantastic pedigree with involvement in the Corpse Bride, James and Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Cate Blanchett and George Clooney have been are in negotiations to voice the principle characters of Mr and Mrs Fox, Angelica Houston and Jason Schwartzman are also possible voice artists.

Historically they have some inspiration in the form of Ray Harryhausen's Hare and Tortoise film where the fox rode a penny fathing bicycle and judged the race. Also back in 1930 was the Tale of the Fox a pioneering stop motion film.

You can buy Ray Harryhausen's film on the Early Years DVD at Amazon:

Monday, March 05, 2007


A couple of links to some short films

Friday, March 02, 2007

Matt and Trey

Southpark creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone chat with Penn Jillette about life, hate mail, money and ratings, George Bush, Southpark and Team America.

Ratobat returns

Poor old Ratobat was not getting many hits on Youtube. This has been attributed to the thumbnail being one of a wall with some carpet. You tube takes the thumbnail from the middle of the video so I made this simple still for him and added it to the end of the movie and repeated the song again with a little credit for the band. Watch Ratobat on YouTube

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Roobarb and Custard

This is kind of old news but I just found about it.... Roobarb and Custard are back on DVD with a "special in-pack insert, allowing viewers to download exclusive wallpapers, videos, voice alerts and the iconic theme tune for their mobile phone".

The new series "Roobarb and Custard Too" is generated in CGI but still contains the distinctive boiling style ("wobbly" to the non technical). Richard Briers voices the series and the origional writer Grange Calveley has been brought back.

The series is directed by Jason Tammemagi animated by Monster Animation & Design.

I'm a fan of the "boiling" effect used in this as it gives Roobarb a very distinctive style, the origional Simpsons had a similar rough look but they had to clean it up when they moved to a series format and outsourced the animation.

More on Boiling: