Delightful Characters

We interviewed long term Stop Motion Pro user Emily Wong…

Hi Emily, how did you get into animation?

I first discovered stop motion by the time I studied film in Hollywood years ago, although my knowledge of stop motion was almost zero. I was at the time in the visual effects class and the teacher asked us to experiment any kind of special effects. The filming studio was all for live action filming and nothing about animation. One day I saw some clays lay around?so I thought I might experiment something out of it. I shot my first stop motion clip with a Bolex camera. When the film sent back, I checked the timing was all wrong? but I discovered the magic of movement. Then I graduated?back to work in Hong Kong in Central Digital Pictures?being producer in both post and motion control studio. Later I went to Toronto to set up a visual effects studio for two years. The experiences strengthened my understanding of frame by frame working. Afterwards I went to Bristol to study for three months at a stop motion animation workshop. From then I was on the path of stop motion creation.

I have used SMP since version 4. I like to use onionskin?loop and playback?simple edit?audio record?rig remover and DOP features.

Emily Wong

Please tell us about your new work.

Recently I had finished a stop motion short called “I feed you and you feed me” which is posted on YouTube. It is a public concerned issue of our local agriculture in Hong Kong. It aimed at comparing the nature-based practices of organic permaculture farming to this day with the modernisation of hydroponic farming.The characters are made of wire within and with a mixture of clay?Fimo and fabric to build on top. The filming materials are with different texture of real object?including kitchen waste?compost, dry leaves. I find the hand-made method of shooting well response to render the nature rhythm of permaculture way of agriculture.

What hardware do you use?

I use Canon 650 DSLR camera and with mixture of Dedo and Fresnel lighting.

Can you tell us a little about how you make the imagery in your work?

It starts from words from feeling from understanding from instinct or from the material or media that animated. It is a forever mixing and cross-over fun process. My filming is almost in camera without any blue / green screen effects.  I always block and rehearse the movement with a dope sheet. As times go, I tend animate without dope sheet, making detail notes instead, to imagine the movement then film the imagery with planned thought and improvising.

How do you make your puppets – any secrets you would like to share?

I do not have any training in model-making or sculpture so…… I guess my puppets are made more from a gut feeling. First I imagine and write down the possibly characters of the puppet?maybe look for a few references?make rough drawing of it then start to shape it by hand. When it is finished?the look of the puppet will strengthen or reflect back to me, sometimes giving me new idea of what it will do or move.

What’s next for you and your animation?

I have another funded independent project which has already taken me 3 years to do. It is a very personal pursuit project and I produce it very slow….. But I will finish it very soon. As I hope to move on to animate some issues and ideas which are much larger than myself.