David Knight - 21st Jan 2013

Karni and Saul return to music videos with this delightful animation for The Staves' Winter Trees, which demonstrates how far they have come from their stop-frame animating roots. It's a forest scene in which imaginative hybrid animals – rabbit squid and llama owls – face a deadly flood, was created in the visual style of 3D laser-cut wood puzzles. And Emily, Jessica, and Camilla – the three singing Stave sisters – are represented by the instrument-playing trees... "We wouldn’t normally base a story in a forest with trees for a song called “winter trees”," says Karni. "But wwhen we first heard the song we wrote ideas down separately, just brainstorming it, and we both wanted a forest. It's the feeling the song gave us – so beautiful but slightly sad and bare too. Something emotional. Then we bashed out the idea, coming up with slightly hybrid animals escaping something – and a llama owl with a man/spirit on its back. "We knew from the girls that the song was based on a relationship so we wanted to take it further by showing creatures escaping a flood and hanging precariously of tips of trees….it reminded us of the fisherman who sit on tall poles in the sea. We wanted to have a story that was symbolic of a relationship and slightly surreal. We Also wanted to make the trees the musicians… "As for the visual treatment we wanted to base it on 3d laser-cut wood puzzles. as we’d been researching it for a while. we made some art work examples and ref images….and Saul sketched the rabbit squids and the llama owl. We showed it to the label and the girls, who loved it and gave us the green light. "Then we had to figure out how to make it, together with Aardman’s animation and cg team. Obviously we are based in one of the best places in the world for animation….so we figured it out pretty quick. its a mix of techniques hand drawn flash cg animation. None of it is classic stop frame though…. We wanted that hand drawn emotional feel with the ease and 3d model feel of the real world that cg can give. So we mixed it up like we usually do." The Staves Winter Trees (Atlantic Records) Directors: Karni and Saul Prod co: Aardman Animations Producer: Lynn Hollowell Production coordinator: Sarah Babbage Editor: Dan Hembery Character design: Saul Freed Illustrator: Owen Williams Lead character TD: Nathan Guttridge TD: Maria Ocantos Modelling TD: Rich Spence Rigger: Dorota Sikorska 2D animator: Tim Ruffle 3D animator: Mathew Rees Lead lighter/renderer: Ali Dixon Lighter: Andy Lavery Lead compositor/grade: Bram Ttwheam Compositor: Jim Lewis, Jon Biggins Commissioner: Sarah Tognazzi 

Credits

DirectorKarni & Saul
Production CompanyAardman Animations
ProducerLynn Hollowell
EditorDan Hembery
CompositorJim Lewis, Jon Biggins
CommissionerSarah Tognazzi

David Knight - 21st Jan 2013

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