vc018: Logo Animation

The 18th video in the #100videoclips project is a simple animation of a logo (or word) using paper and a razor knife.

What I Did

I used the “continuous stop motion” animation technique I describe in detail in the post about vc003: Woodsy Stop Motion Animation and Hyperlapse.

Give animation setup

A note about the tripod: It’s a compact, lightweight travel tripod, a Chinese copy of various name-brand models but with carbon fiber for the price of the others’ aluminum versions.

It only has a ball head, which isn’t ideal for standard filmmaking, but I love its versatility, including the ability to shoot straight down as shown in the picture above. I’ve got other video tripods, but this is my go-to tool for most of my shooting.

In terms of the specific steps, I did the following:

  • Cut out a word from card stock using the razor knife.
    • Why “Give”? It’s generally positive and relatively short, with fairly easy letters to cut out.
  • Position the camera overhead, manually focus (as always) and start the camera filming.
  • Cut little bits away, as illustrated in the video.
    • For each new frame, I tried to move the existing bits a little closer to the edge and cut off a new bit from each letter.
  • In post-production (Premiere Pro), isolate the stop-motion frames (as described in vc003).
  • Embed the sequence in a Nested Sequence so you can apply a reverse effect to the clip.
  • Apply the Change to Color effect to change to a different color (more uniform, but also more artificial looking, if it matters).
  • Add the other editing bits if desired (the original video shown forwards and sped up so you can see behind the scenes).

This sort of animation technique could be applied to a physical (e.g. paper) logo in lots of interesting ways: crumple it, tear it, burn it (watch out for the camera, though!), etc., then play it in reverse to see the logo come together.

What I Learned

The stop-motion animation worked basically as I imagined it would, which was nice.

However, the very last frame, when I thought I had a clean cutting board, actually had a couple of pieces of paper still in the frame. Because I had some data on my camera screen, I didn’t see all of the edges, and I didn’t take the time to completely clear the paper from the board.

I fixed it in post by applying a mirror effect to that edge of the board. It goes by quickly, so most people wouldn’t notice it. However, it was a bit sloppy.

Lesson: Make extra sure that you have all of the shots you need, because once you break down the setup, you can’t really recreate it.