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Mixing Stopmotion Animation With Live Action Movies!

More than 100 years ago a pioneer in stopmotion animation, href = ""> (1892-1965), began making the first short film stopmotion animation after his experiments with documentaries on insects. One of his first film in 1912 Khanzhonkov Company Moscow, produced "The photographer's Revenge" featured beetles and " infidelity "of all things! (Ladyslaw Starewicz)

Originally Starewicz would use wire legs to attach to the insects' bodies. Later he will use quiet thick ball and socket armatures (well before his time) combined with leather and felt-covered puppets in place of refined "dried" insect carcasses. He further extended the Her character in frogs and human like figures in "A series of animated figures executed by the Russian Art Society of Paris" in 1922. While the animations no live action intermingled with them they will set the stage for Stop motion animation movies to come.

In 1925 Willis O'Brien (1886-1952) wowed audiences his impact on the work of a film adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World

The beginning, that it was some earlier stop O Brien's motion animation work, notably "The Dinosaur and the Missing Link: The prehistoric Tragedy" in 1915 .. O Brien used clay animation characters in the film this.

Soon after he began work on a similar movie about people stranded on a deserted island full of dinosaurs. This feature was originally called "Creation". Unfortunately, the studio executives lost interest and dropped the project early in production. Or however they spent 'Brien and his special effects skills on a movie originally entitled

"The Eighth Wonder".

The film was released in April 1933 under the title "King Kong" a true classic for film history. This is undoubtedly one of the first major

successful movies to incorporate live action and stop motion animation. "Son of Kong" followed in December 1933 to equal acclaim.

Edward Nassour (1911-1962) the animation supervisor for the 1951 movie "Lost Continent" followed on the now well established genre of mixing live action and stopmotion animation again with the theme of dinosaurs and Monsters. Although film is not well received as previous such movies however it will keep the genre alive.

"The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms "

In 1953 the famous animator animated the enduring monster from "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. "This movie could be described as one of the original landmark Harryhausen film .. with its theme of the atomic age monster movies. It spawned a whole eara of "some Japanese Monsters" created by atomic experiments in the early days of the Atomic Bomb.
Ray Harryhausen

1970 saw the release a film based on a book by JG Ballard called "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth". Master animator Jim Danforth created some memorable Images in this movie and also later on Ray Harryhausen in "The clash of the Titans" in 1981.

The tradition of mixing stop motion animation with live action continued in the 80's in the sci-fi thriller "Dreamscape" (1984). A large snake man creature keeps chasing the lead character in his nightmares with puppetry but also stop motion animation. Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) employs stop motion in a pivotal scene with huge impact.

But as the millennium came and went the genre of mixing live action and stop motion animation in major film releases gave way to CGI. There is still however many examples of live action and stop motion animation used in short movies, documentaries and commercials like the Sony Bravia Commercial with animated bunnies running throughout New York. Or the Sony PSP commercial which featured objects in animation and live action rather than character or puppet animation. Is also remarkable that the preferred medium seems now to move towards object animation rather than the more time consuming character animation of what is now the last century.

PSP - Stop Motion Commercial

About the Author

Dermy O Reilly is an experienced StopMotion animator based in Ireland. He has worked as a consultant for a number of stopmotion animation software developers and wire frame armature manufacturers. Dermy is currently promoting a website to enthuse newcomers to stopmotion animation at

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Chapter 1 - An awfully big adventure.

Chapter 1 - An awfully big adventure.



Your Quest Begins

Your Quest Begins


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