Tag Archive: Stop Motion


Critique of ‘Voice Tales’ by Nikki Pinney

I can only speak for myself, though I am sure others that have taken this class or any class which studies new media can agree that before I could only judge new media artifacts by their face value. After this semester, I now find myself able to critique and accurately apply judgment based on the concepts of new media which we have studied in I310 this semester, as well as applied to our own projects. This paper will speak of one such project, not my own, but of my peer. I will be critiquing her work within three topics- media histories, genealogies, and archaeologies, remediation, and digital art.

I will begin this critique as I would with any other project, be it a design project, a drawing, or a sculpture, by recognizing the formal qualities of the piece and the craft or how it was constructed. Nikki made a video using Adobe Premiere Elements, iMovie, and Photoshop. The video has good image quality and the sequencing is paced well. It is apparent that she likely developed storyboards and put some thought into how she was going to tell the story of each of her voicemails. The video is comprehensive; it does not make the viewer struggle to “get it.” I would like to know more from her about why she filmed both live action and stop motion animation; does that have significance to each story?

I want to continue this analysis by pointing out and referring to each of the three voicemails represented through the video as ‘stories,’ each one being unique and visualized in different ways. That being said, I wish to begin my critique of the video based on the first topic, media histories, genealogies, and archaeologies. When I first watched the video, I was forced to confront my own feelings about voicemail. I personally hate it, I don’t think it is necessary and I think is it outdated and should be replaced with voice-to-text. With this perspective, I saw this video carrying some emotional baggage over the concept of voicemail as being an homage to the old technology. When thinking about what it is that actually makes this video ‘new’ apart from the obvious of that it was recently made, I had to step back and study the individual parts that make up the whole. We have the parts that are filmed, parts that are animated, photographed, and the sound that was recorded. Lister, in Change and Continuity, speaks of old media in new times (Lister, 47). This is how I feel about “VoiceTales.” This is a video that combines my interpretation of the old technology of voicemails and tells an emotional story about each one. Now, as Lister does in the reading, I must seek out what it is that makes this artifact ‘new.’ For one, the context is new. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be understood by the audience, but little things like in the first scene, Nikki is sitting in front of her computer screen, eating and listening to her voicemail. This is a part of our generation’s daily life, we are always in front of a screen, be it a smart phone, computer monitor, or television. Another way that this video employs newness is in the style of how scenes of the video were created, namely the stop motion scene. This style of combining different types of videography and animation is new and is facilitated by recent advances in production software.

My next topic to critique this video within is remediation, or representing the old in the new (Bolter and Grusin, 45). As the viewer, and taking my own opinions and experiences into my understanding of this work, I view voicemail as “old media” that has been represented through a new media artifact. Nikki has taken the audio of her own personal “voicemailbox” and visually represented it with video. I think that this is a profoundly creative concept of memorializing voicemails that hold emotional value. Not only is she repurposing the actual audio of the voicemails, she gave them a unique visual representation that is specific to each audio clip. Bolter and Grusin define two logics of remediation, immediacy and hypermediacy. In applying this to Nikki’s video, I struggle with defining one or the other to the video as a whole. This is because her video lacks a consistent visual style. I can say that Nikki achieved hypermediacy in the birthday song scene since you were to understand that the voicemail was probably occurring while Nikki was eating dinner/looking at her computer screen. However, the second scene of the friend in Dunn’s Woods is closer to immediacy, as if the friend was just talking on the phone in front of [you] instead of leaving Nikki a message. The emotional aspect, I think, is stronger in the first scene and probably could’ve been pushed further in this style.

In transition to my final topic of digital art, I wish to analyze the artistic qualities in the video and the ‘values’ it carries. To begin, the opening scenes of “VoiceTales” is strong both emotionally and visually. The way that the sound of the “voicemailbox” plays while the title scene plays is clean and really sets the stage for the birthday scene to open. The Dunn’s Woods scene, on the other hand, has a transition in visual style, but it is an abrupt one. I want to know what significance the choppy stop motion style has for that individual versus the style of the first scene-why isn’t it Nikki doing whatever it was she was doing while the friend was calling her. I think exploring that concept throughout the entire video would’ve been both cohesive and emotionally powerful. De Mul’s ideas of cult value and exhibition value are interesting to explore here. She has an example of ‘remixing’ an artwork that holds cult value with the audience, the American Gothic painting she animated. I also think that as visually strong as this video is, if conceptually developed more, it will have a strong exhibition value with audiences (de Mul, 95).

In conclusion, Nikki made a very unique, conceptually interesting video that fits well into the theories that we have discussed this semester and it was a pleasure to critique it.­

Work Cited

Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000. Digital.

De Mul, Jos. “The work of art in the age of digital recombination.” MediaMatters. Ed. Marianne van den Boomen, et al. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009. 95-106. Digital.

Lister, Martin. New Media: a critical introduction. 2nd ed. London: Routeledge, 2009. eBook.

My third analytic paper is about Claudia Davis’ “A Film.”  I really liked the video, it was very well done, and I liked the message the video brought.  The video can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNURgbaxTUk.  The video is made using stop motion techniques and construction paper on a white brick wall, which by the way, makes for a great backdrop.  The video is about pollution and the environment, and how humans are damaging it by not being environmentally friendly, like when she shows CFC’s emitting from the spray cans and spreading around the earth.  The video also shows a fish getting caught in a soda can holder and acid rain, both environmental disasters humanity has wrought.  It is a great example of new digital media.

The video shows a subtle and powerful message that humans are damaging the earth by not caring, and is a perfect situation to show an example of Gladwell’s “small change.”  It’s essentially a video to make you want to help the environment, but as the video can only be as powerful as is audience, it enacts a small change to get people to help out. It enacts the social aspect of Social Media, by not only being uploaded to a social media website, but also attempting to enact a small social change.  It’s a new form of social activism, a new media presentation with an old world message.

This video style has been used since film was first created, stop-motion, but has had resurgence as of late. (Wikipedia, 2011)  The style of the video is perfect for the presentation, with a good frame rate for the images.  The new media concepts in Baym are great for analyzing the video.  The video is interactive in that it has been uploaded to YouTube and now can be commented on, reposted, retweeted, or any other number of distribution means.   The video has become the property of the world.  The video’s temporal structure is asynchronous, with the video being delivered to the viewer.  The videos social cues are obvious, help the environment to prevent bad things.  Its storage is small and light, being able to be stored on YouTube likely forever.  As the video is on YouTube, it can be replicated endlessly, and its potential reach is anyone with an internet connection.  The video is not location specific, and does not include in language with the exception of credits, so would be almost universally understood.

The video shows remediation in its use of a previously recorded audio track, and shows use of classic animation techniques.  Bolter and Grusin show remediation to be “the representation of one medium in another” (Bolter and Grusin, 45). The paper movement is very similar to other stop-motion videos of the past, and the use of construction paper within the context of a stop-motion video is itself a form of remediation.

The video shows participatory culture is that it has an activist message, and that YouTube allows users to leave comments.  Users are also allowed to repost the video on other sites, retweet, Post to Facebook, etc.  Participatory culture is what allows this video to become popular if it ever does.  Liking the video would be a form of participatory culture.

The video was also shot using a camera and edited using a computer, so in itself it is also a form of machinima.   Scenes whose time-lapse was sped up or slowed down was a direct conformation of machinima being used.  The video also shows its development in its digital reproducibility.


Bolter, J. David, and Richard A. Grusin. “Introduction.” Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1999. Print.

Gladwell, Malcolm. “Twitter, Facebook, and Social Activism.” The New Yorker. 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all&gt;.

Baym, Nancy. Personal Connections in a Digital Age . Polity, 2010.

Wikipedia. (11 N). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_motion

Here is my last paper for this class !

project critique on Claudia Davis’ project



HD Version:


This project is stop-motion video reflecting some of the experiences I’ve had since I’ve been at IU. I decided on a stop-motion video because I have always had an interest in making a stop-motion video but never had the time to fool around with it. I wanted to do something with the IU campus because it is my final semester and I have been growing more contemplative of what my time here has meant to me. I wanted to demonstrate how the IU atmosphere balances school and fun.

My inspiration for the video came from a number of sources. I watched quite a few stop motion videos and really liked the illusion that the primary character’s feet don’t move. I also developed a better concept of how transitions looked in certain scenarios. I decided to avoid using a tripod because of the disjointed affect it has on the video. The shifting frames match better with the music.

The process of making the video was fairly tedious. There are over 1,300 stills in this video. I primarily used iMovie 08 to edit and compile the video but I found it to be a very weak program. I had to manually set the time lapses on many of my stills. When I was planning to submit the video, I tried to perform an editing function that caused my entire computer to freeze and I lost my entire project. I had to start over from scratch with a very limited timeline but my experience over the semester helped me do this very efficiently.

I had wanted to include sporting events in this video but, unfortunately, things kept coming up. Also, the amount of content I have already included is very substantial. I really wanted to put the Oaken Bucket game in the video but, as you all know, it is after the due date. In the future, I am considering splitting the video up into two separate parts in order to make it into two separate music videos. As far as my intent to continue making stop motion movies, I have become very interested in them and will most likely continue to produce them and hone my skills in making them.

Final Project Deliverable – Claudia Davis

My project is a paper-form stop-motion film addressing the dire implications of humanity’s impact on nature, but presented in such a way that is more digestible for college-age students and those who are not as familiar with the Green Movement. It is designed to present the problem, but not place blame directly on the viewer, instead inspiring them to take action and recognize their own part in the scenes shown.

The process of creating this stop motion was arduous. Even though I had some ideas about what scenes I wanted to include, I ended up having to do a lot of thinking on my feet to fill in the extra time left over in the soundtrack. Moreover, it involved a lot of tedious paper cutting (and a lot of painful paper cuts!) and took many many hours for only several minutes of footage. In fact, the video contains over 600 photos.

In addition, it was hard to keep certain things like the camera placement, lighting, and speed constant during shooting. If the tripod moved at all, it was very noticeable, or if the paper-form fell off the wall, many times you would have to reshoot a scene entirely. It was a very tedious process, and I had to learn to adapt, review early and often, and be very patient. No matter how tedious though, the end project was worth it.

For the time being, other than continuing stop-motion as a hobby, I have no future plans to further refine or develop this video.



Project- Watt – 11/22/2011

Final Project- Recipe Videos

Turkey Minestrone

Sandwich Cookies

S’More (prototype)

My video cooking project aimed to demonstrate a new way to display a recipe for a viewer. I took two recipes, turkey minestrone and sandwich cookies, and created stop motion videos for each. During the editing process, I added Flash action script 3.0 to incorporate the directions into the video. By putting the pictures with the directions, I have formed a new media for a cooking/baking audience.

I chose to gear my video to cooking because it is something I enjoy doing. I also thought the stop motion videos were neat and would be something fun to try out on my own. By combining both of these interests, I was able to develop a video that pushed a recipe to another level.

For this project I used Adobe Flash and Adobe Photoshop along with my camera and a file converter to create my final videos. I have made an animated video using Flash before but I have never used action scripting. I watched tutorials on how to create a typing animation but had to tweak the code to run correctly in my video. I used Photoshop to create the title screen and the recipe cards from scratch. I had to use a file converter to publish my final video because Flash wouldn’t save the action script into an .avi extension correctly. Unfortunately, any of the free file conversion software puts a watermark on the videos so it covered up the “Step 1, Step 2, ect.” in my videos. I learned many new skills in Flash as well as video editing in general by putting these videos together.

I don’t plan to do anything more with these videos but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

Jackie’s Inspiration

I really like the stop motion videos.  I like the all together flow of the videos, how they are somewhat choppy but also tell a story.  I feel like stop motion videos are great because they are not limited by real time which allows for unique scene changes.