Valley of the Shadow: Stop Motion Animation



Valley of the Shadow was my first complete piece using stop motion animation. The short follows the misadventures of a pink alien and his three eyeballs. The entire movie was completed during spring break in my dorm living area. My roommate was gone for the weekend, and I transformed the living area into a mini-set. Using a large piece of plywood that was leftover from hurricane season, I used trick angles to make the small 3x4 seem like an entire alien universe.
English: The animation disc with a clay animat...
English: The animation disc with a clay animated chick. Intended as a free icon to represent Wikipedia's coverage of Stop motion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the materials were bought at the dollar store. The goop was this nasty $1 hair gel that nearly poisoned me with its noxious fumes. After nearly passing out, I realized that I had to use it on a limited basis and could not leave the jars unopened on my table! The trees are plastic spoons I burned on my stove, and the eyeballs are marbles covered in goop and pink Saran Wrap. In fact, the alien was a combination of wooden sticks, pipe cleaners, and pink Saran Wrap.

I shot 45 minutes of footage, but my professor said that the 30 minute cut was too long. So I pared it down to 9 minutes of insane alien fun!

The music was composed in Pro Tools. Each character has its own distinct theme. The alien's garble came to me after another sleepless night of mixing. Tired of composing original thematic materials, I started haphazardly hitting keys on a warped percussion patch. It worked! The rest of the soundtrack has my characteristically sci-fi style of sweeping synth pads intermingled with smatterings of rhythm.
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