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My Muppet Show Stop-Motion Animation

Discussion in 'Action Figures' started by Squigiman, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Squigiman

    Squigiman Active Member

    Hey Gang,
    I haven't posted much on these boards in a while, outside of the thread dedicated to Jerry and tributes for him, so when looking for an appropriate place to post this thread, this seemed to be the first obvious choice. If there's a section better suited, such as for the fan community's creations, maybe it should be moved there.

    With that out of the way, let me get to the point. Back in my senior year of college, I made my final project combining two of my favorite interests, The Muppets and stop-motion animation. I had an idea, thanks to my enthusiasm for the wonderful action figure line from Palisades Toys that had been coming out at the time. I decided to set about (painstakingly) recreating Muppet Show sketches, retaining the original audio, in stop-motion animation, with the Palisades figures.

    Recently, I've been feeling more Muppetty than usual, so I decided to dig up my old external hard drive and finally upload my works, so I could share them with the world. Today, I posted the third and final piece and made a playlist for them all, which can be accessed here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLumtId7GemGZxbNYGR-G66-4c2_ULjmta&feature=edit_ok.

    I hope you'll check them out, and that you enjoy what you see. Feel free to Like (or Dislike, if that's your honest opinion), as well as comment, both on YouTube and here. Thanks for checking them out, in advance!


    -Zach
  2. Mo Frackle

    Mo Frackle Well-Known Member

    Nice! And you even had Beaker's mouth move. How long did it take you to do these?
  3. Squigiman

    Squigiman Active Member

    Hey,
    Thanks! VERY LONG! I actually documented my progress on the Muppet Labs one, as I went, and I usually only got a few seconds done per recording session, over the course of a few months. I was a little more sporadic with the Pigs In Space one, which I shot first, but with time marching along, I kept at it with Labs, and actually sometimes stayed up through the night animating. Difficult, and often frustrating process, but rewarding in the end.


    -Zach
    Mo Frackle likes this.
  4. Are those the only ones you'll do?
    muppetlover123 likes this.
  5. Dearth

    Dearth Active Member

    Very ambitious!

    Coming from a background as an action figure customizer, the main problem that I see is the limited poseability of the existing Palisades articulation. It would be extremely interesting to see this done with modified figures, along the lines of how Robot Chicken does things. You could put the existing Palisades details over more poseable armatures, and then the animation could lose some of that rigidity. Make it more fluid.

    It's good to see your learning curve from the Pigs in Space one to the Muppet Labs one. Controlling the lighting was a big improvement, and the camera didn't shift as noticeably as it had before. Moving Beaker's mouth was an excellent touch, but it drove home the fact that the other figures can't lip synch. Perhaps a 'paper cutout mouth' replacement system for the rest of the figures could be used in future ones. Or else retouch their lips digitally in post? But that sort of cheapens the charm of hands-on stop-motion, I suppose.

    Would love to see future installments of this type of thing. Judging from the progress just in these clips, the next ones would be better and better each time.

    Alex
    meepmuppaphones likes this.
  6. Squigiman

    Squigiman Active Member

    Thanks for the kind words, guys! I would, indeed, really like to get back to this and make more, including finishing the Chef sketch, as well as the effects and ending of the PIS one. It's tougher, though, these days, what with married life, a full-time job, responsibilities like that, and my setup being different, now.

    At the time, I had a DV camera on a tripod directly wired into my laptop. That one died, and when I eventually replaced it, Apple decided to stop putting FireWire outlets in their basic model MacBooks. I've found a way to use the program I did, in new ways, via a combination of a remote camera app for the iPhone and a capturing one for the iPad. Still, with the camera being my phone, I can't leave it in place for hours at a time, and in between shooting sessions.

    Hopefully, I can find a way to make it all work and balance the time it takes to make these, too, even if I have to get a few all-nighters in there, again. I actually originally intended to do a full-length episode, but it was just too ambitious, especially all by myself. I believe I have the list of the sketches I intended to replicate, still, so hopefully I can get back to it, at some time. Again, thanks for the words of encouragement!


    -Zach


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