I hope you’ve enjoyed the Real True Actual Stories of America videos! I wrote that introductory sentence and then realized it was NEARLY IDENTICAL to the one I wrote LAST POST but I’m just gonna leave it there because THE SENTIMENT STANDS.
I wrote a blog post for Audible that goes BEHIND THE SCENES of how we made them a little:
To bring characters from Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927 to life in a series of six videos, we merged traditional hand puppetry with motion-capture techniques to create a unique form of animation. Wait -— did we create it? Or did we independently invent a technique that smarter people than us have perfected years ago and are now yawning about? I don’t know and thankfully I don’t care.
The ‘Real True Actual Stories’ videos are animated, but it only ends up as animation via the long way round. The original performance for every character is performed by an actor, using a clothespins-and-rubber-bands-controlled hand puppet with a face drawn on it. I first made a bunch of these very simple puppets a few years ago, for a series of video experiments that were basically just an excuse to talk in funny voices all day long.
The more complex the videos became, the more we began to butt up against the physical limitations of building puppets, props, and sets. We wanted to spend time performing, not laboriously cutting out paper. So I decided to turn to my film editing expertise (from my prior career, before I started making comics), and came up with a way to merge the worlds of live performance with digital design…
The full post is here!