This time we hit lighter tones! Have a look at interesting animated project by Rogier Wieland made for the legendary Moleskine and learn about challenges of shooting scenes with cats and mice.
And what’s your latest project? Share your stories in the next spotlight.
Patryk Kizny: Rogier, tell us a little bit about the background of the production and what made it particularly interesting for you?
Rogier Wieland: I got asked by Moleskine, the famous notebook company from Milan, to make a video about their new coloured 2013 planners. I had complete creative freedom, but it was kind of a pitch.
I have made a few video’s for Moleskine before and I noticed that their products suit my work and ideas pretty well. I think I’m part of their target audience, so I guess I could make something that I would enjoy watching.
The whole creative and technical approach that makes me excited to make this stuff. I love working with actual materials. I love paper and cardboard and their limits and trying to stretch their possibilities. To me it’s Moleskine giving me the opportunity to discover, create and experiment on their behalf.
PK: So actually how it started for you with all the animation thing?
RW: I studied graphic design and found out that I had so much more fun with designing moving images than with static images, therefore I had to find out a lot of video making and I think that’s the reason why I do what I do. I’m developing my own technical skills and ideas. I don’t know if it’s that much different from other animators or motion designers, but it definitely is my own way.
PK: What were main technical challenges during the production?
RW: The physical labour. We shot during the summer. It was 45°C in the studio because of the warm studio lights. We had to perform a lot of athletic exercises because we mostly had to work on the floor.
Worst was the scene with the mouse. We built a big wooden box around the set, so the mouse couldn’t escape. The height of the walls of the box and the warm light that was close made it physically pretty hard to do all the frame by frame stop motion. But the mouse stayed cool and did an excellent performance!
PK: And artistic?
RW: I hope the three “flipped scenes” came out well. I mean the scenes with the cat and mouse, the gardener and the piano lessons. First you see a situation, then the planner rotates 180 degrees and then there’s the “outcome” of the situation.
PK: Are there any special production techniques that you used?
RW: No, I don’t think so. But somebody on a blog thought that the scenes with all the planners opening up (in the beginning) or closing (at the end) were shot using small electric DC motors. Obviously it’s all shot in stop motion and we used our hands and small pieces of cardboard to keep the planners open at a certain position, but it would have been pretty cool if we did invent a system to digitally control that amount of planners opening in the proper speed and order and also replace them where needed.
PK: That’s really funny… What role played the DitoGear equipment in your production?
RW: If I didn’t have my DitoGear Omnislider I would have to add a lot of earthquake scenes to my concept. All camera movements are shot with Omnislider. In fact, sometimes I also use it to move objects in the shot instead of the camera.
PK: Can you share your experience using DitoGear equipment for this kind of work?
RW: As always I loved working with my Omnislider. The only downside is that I haven’t yet controlled it by DragonFrame.
PK: Are there any things that you would do differently today?
RW: Everything. I can’t believe Moleskine accepted this piece of crap. No, but I guess like everybody does, I also always think about my work that in can be much better. It’s never perfect. It’s never as good as I want it. I mean, I’m happy with it and proud of it, but there are many things that can be done better. On the other hand, this is not a largely financed commercial (although a lot of people don’t seem to believe that). I think for the time and the budget we did a very nice job.
PK: What we truly love about heroes is not that they never fail, but how they rise after a failure. What was the biggest failure during the production and what lessons you can share with us?
RW: I didn’t have had a real failure during this production. I worked with a cat (my own) and a mouse (borrowed) and I was afraid that that could turn out as a failure, but I guess I was very lucky. The mouse did exactly what I had in mind in her second take. The cat had no idea what I expected from her, but a lot of patience and candy did the job.
PK: What is the next big thing for you?
RW: I’m not sure yet. I’m now talking to a few agencies about potential jobs. And we’re also working on new ideas in the studio. That’s mainly what I want my interns to do. Trying to figure out how technical ideas that I have can be animated.
It’s a lot of experimental stuff that I usually don’t show to audiences, but they might be the basics of a next project. I really like that part. We’re now working on a very labour intensive, with paint animated, concept and also something with wood that can still go in so many directions that I don’t have a clue what it will become.
PK: Many thanks for finding time to share your work with us. I look forward to seeing more creative stuff from you in the future!
Interested in shooting stop motion?
Check DitoGear™ OmniSlider Animators Edition
Follow the work of Rogier Wiland:
Rogier Wieland on Vimeo
Blog post about the project