March 25, 2014 — GFHS junior Emily Fisher bested professional videographers, college students, and other artists by winning the “People’s Choice Award” for the stop-motion film she entered in The People’s Pixel Project: A Festival of Short Videos. Molly Davis, Kaitlyn Vogel, and Riley Brennan also won honors in the competition.
This fifth-annual effort of the Lake George Arts Project showcased 22 video shorts from hundreds of entries submitted by film makers within 100 miles of Lake George, NY. The majority of films were around 3-5 minutes long in genres including animated, comedy, documentary, narrative, and music video.
Several students from Glens Falls entered pieces in the competition, and the four juniors were recognized as top artists—with their films being shown at the screening and awards presentation at the Wood Theater March 23.
It all started in photography class with GFHS teacher Peter Taylor, where the students studied many different kinds of stop-motion projects. The technique involves editing hundreds of individual still photos together in a sequence that creates the illusion of movement when viewed together quickly. The students’ final pieces were to be viewed at ten frames per second—and shooting each frame involved re-positioning the subject matter. “It’s like a digital version of Claymation,” says Mr. Taylor. “So it’s a very labor-intensive process.”
Emily’s piece, “Crane,” represented the occasional frustration with schoolwork, and an underlying need to create something. “It’s about my physics homework turning itself into a paper crane and flying out the window,” Emily said.
She completed the photography in one continuous three-hour shoot, taking more than 400 images that she spent the next two weeks editing into animation.
“The most painful part of the process is editing the pictures,” said Emily. “I had the bird on a fishing pole. So in every frame I had to edit out the pole. But it’s cool to take the pictures and make a story.”
Riley said her project involved nearly 2,000 images once complete. “Frames” is a look into different dimensions of a forest dreamland, involving shots taken with empty picture frames. The main character appears and disappears in and around the frames, a technical challenge Riley found within the creative process. “You have to shoot the still with no one in it, bring it into Photoshop, layer it, and erase parts step by step,” said Riley.
Molly's project, “Lunch,” depicted two brown paper lunch bags on a kitchen table. One is forgotten as family members leave the house, so the bag tries to follow after. She enlisted her younger brother as an actor in the project.
“Best Friends,” by Kaitlyn, is a story of jealousy between a pipe-cleaner lawn flamingo and flower. “It goes dark,” says Kaitlyn, with a grin.
Mr. Taylor structured the course offering to let students develop their skills and enter the competition, after Glens Falls student Ethan Cronquist won the People’s Choice Award in 2013.
“In a stop motion, there’s so much involved in pre-visualizing, modeling, shooting, and then editing,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s a real-word environment of having to go back and do it again if it doesn’t work out. It certainly pushes the limits of their patience. But students learn how to do something they’re proud of, instead of [the project] ending up in a teacher’s drawer. Suddenly it’s not about being an assignment. They start taking pride in it because it’s for them, it’s not for me.”
View each of the students' honored projects below: