Hippo was a joke I played on my experimental media class. We were given the task of producing a short hand-drawn animation. "Short" meaning approximately 10 seconds.
The video I submitted was 30 minutes long.
Essentially, the narrative of Hippo is never-ending; it can be looped for perpetuity, and would still make sense. A single iteration of the loop is 1 minute and 37 seconds long, shot in 15 FPS, and yet only consists of about 70 individually drawn frames. How is that possible?Static holds—the lazy animator's best friend.
Behind the Scenes
In the penultimate scene, I lifted the animation table's camera, exposing the lab's production process. Essentially, a Canon Rebel (I forgot the exact model) is mounted over a large wooden table that we can manipulate laterally using a series of cranks. The Rebel is tethered to a single-button remote that shoots a single frame upon activation and a cable connects the camera to a nearby workstation and dumps the image into our animation software, Dragonframe. This was the same setup used to animate Chinese New Year.
As you can see in the image above, I numbered each of the animation's frames in the top right corners—we're on 50 in this shot. You'll see the obscure Acme peg system attaching the frame to the table. The hole-puncher for this thing was worth hundreds of dollars—the antique could only punch five sheets at a time. It was probably as old as the chrome-trimmed, light-leaking, cinderblock-sized Bolex cameras we used for some of our other projects that quarter.