Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Paper Cinema

What happens at the accidental meeting of inkblots, photocopies, cardboard, angle-poise lamps, video technology, a laptop and a banana box?

So I was at this party in a garden the other night when suddenly a woman asked everyone to shush and we all shushed and she turned on the projector and it projected onto a sheet on the garden wall, and then there were these two people and they waved hand-drawn cardboard cut-outs in front of a camera and what they waved in front of the camera appeared on the big screen, and they had a man with them playing music and making sounds and these three conjured up a film right there before our eyes, right in front of us, that we could watch on the big screen, a sort of puppet-animation show, made up of intricately-drawn pictures of characters and scenes and all the elements they needed to tell their stories all waved about in front of the camera in some sort of order and it was like ah! someone's found an beautiful marriage of up-to-date technology and ancient, enchanting technique. An amazing idea and brilliantly executed by Nic Rawling, who drew all the pictures, and his assistants. I happened to be standing behind the puppeteers throughout the films so my eyes constantly flitted from the big screen to watching them perform, which meant I got a behind-the-scenes view, but failed to follow the stories very closely. But the way they conjured up animation from static pictures on sticks was a blessing.

Footage of King Pest, as seen if you just watch the big screen.

A wider shot, including the puppeteers at work, not great but it gives you some idea of what's going on.

The Paper Cinema blog - facebook - interview - bio

Animation bonus: video of Jim Le Fevre (website), talking with others including Nic Rawling, featuring some nifty live animation using a Technics 1210.