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Want to make clear what you stand for? What you're on about?
Get a clear, concise and playful Mutant Worm explanimation!
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Wil je overbrengen waar je voor staat — wat je bedoelt?
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Mutant Worm creates most of its animation, visual effects and motion graphics in Adobe After Effects using any footage possible. Digital 3D and stop motion are also possible.
The sky is not the limit.
Mutant Worm maakt zijn animaties, visuele effecten en motion graphics meestal in Adobe After Effects met elk mogelijk materiaal. Digitaal 3D en stop motion kunnen ook. The sky is not the limit.
An animation about the workings and dangers of hydraulic fracturing.
Check out the full video by Ledegang Communication & PR below, it has a few more motion graphics by Mutant Worm. — Thanks Bart! I love making animations that matter. Insane that it’s needed.
Sorry, no subtitles yet.
The Dutch municipalities Boxtel & Noordoostpolder have started a manifesto against shale gas and for sustainable energy. Dozens of municipalities have already signed it.
Commissioned by Ledegang Communication & PR.
Script: Bart Ledegang
Client: municipalities Boxtel & NOP
VO & Sound Design: Linze Valk
Camera & Editing in full version: Ismaël Lotz
Strata like shale or mudstone are cracked at four kilometers depth.
A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is pumped down under high pressure.
The clay-stone cracks and the stored gas is released.
With each cracking many chemicals are pumped into the ground.
At the same time contaminated elements and heavy metals also leach from the soil.
They are transported to the surface and form waste water.
This water is transported and leads to increased freight traffic.
A portion of all chemicals eventually stays behind in the ground.
The risks of technical failure or human error also remain continuously present.
Simply said, it’s a madness that has already spread in the United States to detrimental effect. We don’t want it there. We don’t want it here. We don’t want it anywhere.
Well, it is high time for a good old autonomous Mutant Worm flick, a stop motion even. So here’s Wasted Cowboys! A short Playmobil stop motion. Not really for kids, although they do seem to like it.
70’s & 80’s PLAYMOBIL
It all started when I got my 70’s-early 80’s Playmobil off the barn attic for my kids. First off, I noticed there was a lot more Playmobil than I remembered, but I quickly realized they were the discarded sets of my childhood friends who outgrew them a bit sooner than me … 30 odd years sooner, it turns out.
QUICK & DIRTY
The boxes were filthy. They’d been collecting dust for decades on the hay and straw attic. Among the first things I took out was a little cowboy house along with some cowboys, and I decided to do a stop motion test. I’d seen that Hue Animation had software and a HueHD webcam on a goose neck — you know, for kids — so that was going to be my approach: quick and dirty. I also left the Playmobil dirty, which you can notice especially in close ups. I even used my iPhone for the voices and assorted sounds.
The way I wanted to do this was quick and dirty but all in-camera for the tactile home-made feel of it — which didn’t work out that way, but more on that later. I’m well aware that stop motion can take a long time. When you’re pressed for time and/or money, the trick is to do as little as possible to come to a cool result. Existing props and characters sure do help. Enter Playmobil.
MY FIRST EVER FILM
Come to think of it, my first ever film was a Playmobil stop motion. I must have been about eleven when I was at my cousin’s and he and his sister had been playing around with an 8mm camera. As I recall we were in the garden when we filmed his Playmobil; it probably has more hands than Playmobil in the shots. He does have it somewhere so I’ll ask if he can dig it up for me.
THE STORY: MY BOY TOM & ESCALATION
The story, if you can call it that, sort of happened as it went along. So I had three cowboys, a house, a donkey and a cart. Even some old paper dynamite I cooked up way back when, to add to the play. I wondered what they would be doing if I made a short stop motion. Who were they? What were they like? What were they doing there?
Well, I quickly found out. They already looked a bit shabby and as they started talking to one another the tone was quickly set. Kids probably know how this works. I sure as heck didn’t plan it and I tried to tone them down somewhat. They are a loud and rowdy bunch. I think they’re gold-miners. At some point I figured that if I’m ever doing a sequel I’ll have to ask Playmobil to put a gold-mining set on the market. I later found out that they already did. Of course, I’m thinking along the lines of a Temple of Doom sequence so that would get tricky all the same.
When I read the early script out really loud to the misses, I got a blank stare in return. Still, I thought … THIS IS GONNA ROCK!
Since it took a while — commercial work demanding my attention, you know how it goes — it also grew in the telling. A large influence on, or rather cause of, the psychedelic sequence was my five-year-old boy Tom. I was in our attic/home office figuring technical stuff out, like the camera, software and lighting, when he came along. He stumbled upon my stash of clay and wanted to do an animation. I could only stimulate that, but I wanted to keep it simple, so I figured I’d create a worm out of a bar of clay. But no, he wanted a snail — for obvious reasons.
I have to say I was a bit daunted by doing stop motion again. What if I couldn’t do it like I wanted to? What if I failed? So thank you, Tom, for proving me wrong. I think we did the clip below in about half an hour.
I intended to just use what I had in the old boxes, but some haphazardly arriving script-elements also made me plunder my girl Zoe’s Playmobil. Also, if you look closely, one of the close up shots of Joshua has a clay cactus in the background. Because it took a while before I could continue, I decided to order some actual Playmobil cacti and mushrooms on Marktplaats (sort of a Dutch Craigslist).
Other things could not be done with Playmobil so I turned to clay there. And of course I did a quick and dirty marker drawn background — that was before I knew how it would escalate, although I doubt I would have done it differently.
So it grew in the telling, and even without a planned story it’s still pretty round, I conjur. The flying horse is even there at the start. If all else fails, at least it had me in stitches.
Did I just say ‘conjur’? It’s amazing no Firefly reference ended up in this animation. Or did I miss it? The brain works in mysterious ways … give me a sec … my head just exploded as I decided to google ‘Playmobil Firefly‘.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE
The Hue HD webcam can shoot 1280×720 pixels. Unfortunately the Hue Animation software could not fully reach that, at least not on Mac, so I turned to my professional Dragonframe software instead.
I used iGlasses to lock exposure. The reason I went for the HD cam is that it has a goose neck and a focus ring:
• it doesn’t take a lot of expensive hardware, like computer operated dollies and cranes — that’s the next step ;),
• it can get you up real close in strange positions while still being able to focus,
• you can even do cranes with some effort,
• you want your focus to be locked when you’re doing a stop motion,
• plus you can actually shift focus during a shot.
I used three 100Watt lightbulbs, and as you can see that three point lighting is hardly natural. A friend of mine lend me a LED panel recently so I’m going to try and realize a setup with that next. I couldn’t use it here yet because I’d already shot several sequences and it would have screwed up lighting continuity.
I’m saying post, but it was a back and forth. I used Adobe After Effects which is my main tool, also Illustrator for the titles, Adobe Audition for audio editing, and some Premiere Pro. I actually ended up doing sound in After Effects as well, because, well, I’m that kind of guy. I like to tweak with everything there at hand. I should probably do a tutorial about editing in After Effects at some point, for like-minded stubborn lazy fools.
So, although I had initially planned to do this all in camera, combining and fixing things in post ended up making this a lot more manageable. For instance, I ended up with several shots having clay rigs to keep things in the air or simply in place: the rocking chair and falling fish. Obvious stuff to use for an animation, but once you get started where do you stop?
The rigs had to be painted out so I had the presence of mind to shoot accompanying clean background plates. I also ended up using composites because I didn’t find a way to do the butterflies or flying horse with a glass rig to keep them afloat, and the repetitiveness of the burning fuse called for a separate looping composite done with clay on a black background.
Compositing these elements made things quicker, at least this time around. I’d like to do as much as possible in camera but it has to be simple; maybe next time.
Mainly you use the tools you need to get the shot that’s in your head. Like the pan down shot at the start. There was no way I could have done that quickly by building a practical sky that high, so it also became something for post.
I did some grading using a few masked paper textures, the curves effect and Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Looks.
So more and more things got shoved over to post — I felt like Peter Jackson. Where do you stop indeed, and things got more complicated quickly. I even did a facial animation test based on Videocopilot’s Demon Face tutorial.
In the end I did leave some ‘errors’ in, mainly visible set element in the background like a stand, duct tape and background edges. I decided that they added to the home-made tactile look
Like I said I used my iPhone 4 for the voices and several sounds, which I ran through Adobe Audition insofar that was necessary.
Most of the sound effects I got from my Audioblocks account.
Going for quick and dirty I cooked these up by getting some vector elements from Vectorstock, finding some nice cowboy fonts, and a paper texture.
Anyways, I hope you liked. I should probably mention the movie references besides Turbo. The ‘Wookie’ remark should be apparent, and Transformers.
Film buddy Ismaël Lotz asked me if I wanted to do the visual effects for his fictional intro to Guido Weijers’ Oudejaarsconference (a stand up show about the past year’s news items) for 2014. Sure I did. So I got to do visual effects for a national television show!
The intro is about Guido arriving at an industrial complex where a professor (played by Ismaël) zaps him with images from past year’s news items — aided by no other than DJ Hardwell — thus leading into Guido coming on stage to talk and joke about 2014. You can easily spot the Back To The Future references.
I have to say the intro already looked awesome without VFX so kudo’s to all involved. You can check out the credits at the vimeo link.
From the get go my link with Ismaël was Back To The Future. The first time I saw him was in a short of his that referenced Back To The Future. Since then it’s been a recurring theme. I sure hope to do a time travel short with him soon.
The show itself isn’t online yet but you can stream it here for € 3,99, or download it for € 7,99. It has a very good main theme, the most important theme there is: our human responsibility for ‘modder’ earth. It is inspired by Wubbo Ockels, our national astronaut and hero, who passed away from cancer last year.
Here’s a small part of Guido’s show, the brilliant ending, which again binds Wubbo to our responsibility as a species. It’s in Dutch though.
Here’s Wubbo entire speech, in English, recorded one day before he passed away.
And finally, back to VFX, here’s a deleted one. I went a little overboard
A bit later than planned — courtesy of some burglars — but here’s our Happy 2015 video.
The theme of course is Back To The Future
So happy future. Enjoy!
The ingredients to this video:
Back To The Future
Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe Car
Rotating monitor stand
Canon Powershot SX230HS
Adobe After Effects
Videocopilot Action Essentials & Optical Flares
Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks
Old Casio SA-1 100 Sound ToneBank for kids
As a reminder, here are some Back to The Future clips to show you what 2015 should look like.
Mercatus is a medium sized housing corporation firmly grounded in society. In Emmeloord and in the ten villages of the Noordoostpolder approximately 5,000 people live in a house of Mercatus.
Bart Ledegang came calling again. Thanks Bart! I was inspired to be creative and together we came to this form — with lots of stock material as well as footage shot on location — to explain in animation about Mercatus’ rental price policies.
I did two Mercatus animations. This one is about nuisance in the neighborhood.
Commissioned by and in co-oporation with: Ledegang Communication & PR
Camera: Ismaël Lotz
Animatie & Sound Design: Frank Boxman/Mutant Worm
RENTAL PRICE POLICY
The rental houses of agency Mercatus differ.
That the tenant of this house pays more rent than the tenant of this property is obvious.
But that the family in this house also pays more than the tenant of this property,
that is less obvious. How can that be?
For starters, the price you pay is primarily determined by the government.
The Housing Evaluation System was in fact created by the government to translate the quality of your home into a rental price.
The amount of rent you pay, has everything to do with the quality of your home.
for example with Energy Label A?
Then you get 36 points.
A house with Energy Label G gets no points.
Thus there are points for the number of rooms, number of windows, the size of the house, and how it is heated.
The scoring is fixed and is translated into money.
One point is worth about 5 euros.
Your maximum rental price is the number of points times 5 euros.
Fortunately, Mercatus hardly ever asks you for 100% of the rent.
This is done to keep expenses for the target group eligible for social housing as low as possible.
You’ll also have to deal with the annual rent increase.
The government again determines how much the rent may increase.
Good to know: Mercatus has the lowest rent throughout Flevoland!
When a tenant moves, the rent is re-established.
It may be that the house has been changed in the interim.
Maybe a new dormer or a storage room.
That improved the quality of the home, of course,
and therefore the rent goes up,
but always according to the point system.
Look at Mr. White.
He’s been living happily in the same house for forty years.
In all these years he has only received the annual rent increase,
and hardly any major adjustments.
So obviously he pays less rent than the young Van der Veen couple
who have only been renting from us for a year.
All tenants are equally dear to us.
Although we provide some with extra help.
For young people, we also keep the rent deliberately low for a number of houses,
at a maximum of 450 euros.
And they get a discount at ages below 23 years, so they can always rely on housing benefit.
If your rent is too high in proportion to your income, you may also qualify for housing benefit.
You can apply for a housing benefit form by calling 0800 – 0543 or submit directly to toeslagen.nl
Of course you can put your questions to Mercatus.
In short, what at first glance seems difficult to explain, is actually quite simple, and honest.
That … is Mercatus.
Go to mercatus.nl