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A Case Study: Stop Motion Vs. After Effects

The original concept for this video was to create all effects in camera within Dragon Frame. I decided that the piece would be better served by working in After Effects after a few days of filming. The transition from above water to below would be complicated, so AE was the better choice. All of the layers are 2D elements, so it was easy to take a plate and digitize the assets. I wanted to keep a lot of the look we had in camera, so I set up plates with the original set lighting.

Dragon Frame 12fps

This was the first test we did in camera using a motion control slider for the push in. We had all of the elements on tracks to control side to side movement and it helped to keep everything precise. I have pictures below that show the set.

AE Test 24fps

We spent a couple of days filming the opening scene by hand, but then decided to take the project into After Effects. I felt that doing all of the movement in AE would give me more control over the elements in the project. If the program team had changes, it would be much easier to make to changes in AE. We tested the project at 24FPS, but thought it was too smooth and didn’t have the look of the original project at 12FPS.

AE Test 12fps

We did a few runs at different frame rates to see what would get us closest to the feel that we had with the original Dragon Frame project. We tried 24FPS, 18FPS, and decided that 12FPS was the best fit.

Finished Project

We’re getting much closer to a completed project. These are some of the final changes before we have music that’s custom composed.

BTS Photos

This was one of the first test that we did. All of the water elements are hand painted water color on paper. All of the other elements were created to mimic a water color style.

Close-up of the scene through the camera. I shot all of the scenes at an f/11 because focus falloff.

Wide shot of the whole set with a reference monitor. I used 2 LED Kino-Flos and 2 LED tube lights for most of the setups.