Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Over-analyzing Stop Motion Save the Date Videos

I have noticed a very interesting trend in Save the Date videos.  In an age when computer-generated animation is becoming increasingly prevalent (even Disney says they're through with hand-drawn animation :( ), stop motion STD (I'm sorry for the abbreviation, but it's just so damn convenient) videos seem to be taking the wedding world by storm.

OK, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic.  After all, only a very small percentage of couples even use STD videos.  However, of those who do, a significant number have made stop motion videos.

Now, I'm a film studies major who wrote as many papers as possible on animation (I once wrote a ten-page film theory paper on The Lion King), so forgive me if I'm delving too deep into analysis here.  But this trend toward stop motion STD videos surprises me for two reasons.

One is that stop motion films are incredibly time-consuming.  You have to set up each frame by hand, and it can take hours to get thirty seconds of material.

The other is that using stop motion requires a surprising level of creativity.  Since they've virtually disappeared from Hollywood cinema (Tim Burton is the only significant exception), I'm surprised so many people thought of it.  Of course, I may have come across all of the other film major's STD videos, or maybe someone started the trend, and the others saw their work and copied the idea.

Regardless, I've been very impressed by them.  You have simple, cutesy ones like this:

 LEGOs Seem Particularly Popular

However, you also get really artsy stuff that looks like it belongs in an avant-garde film festival:

Gotta Love Vampire Weekend

So why are people making such time-consuming films?  And why are they making them so damn long (seriously, you do not need to take four minutes to get the point across)?

As to the latter question, I will keep my opinion to myself out of respect to the filmmakers.  But I think I've got a handle on the former.

Stop motion may take forever, but it is very easy to make well, especially on a low budget.  The biggest thing the above films have in common aside from the mode of filmmaking is that both use household items as their props.  It doesn't get much less expensive than a few LEGO people or some clothing.  Stop motion allows couples to make a cute, unique STD without spending much if any money.

It's the budget bride's dream come true.

Since most people don't avidly search YouTube for STD videos, and also because Hollywood has given up on stop motion, making your STD using this mode of filmmaking creates a completely unique look.  Indeed, you can even make it look professional much more easily than using people.  Fewer variables to deal with.  If you do it right, you won't even need to edit the film.  Add in the low cost, and now I'm surprised more people aren't doing it.

So newly engaged folks, if you want to make unforgettable STDs without shelling out much cash, just jump on the stop motion bandwagon.

And if you've made it through all that, I hereby dub you an honorary member of the Berkeley Film Department.  Or at least I would if Berkeley actually had a Film Department (we're smushed in with Rhetoric.  It's really embarrassing).

Sound reasonable?  Other ideas about why people would produce stop motion STD videos?


  1. That second video is fascinating. Seriously, I'm amazed. Also, I think it's pretty interesting how - in the age of youtube - four measly minutes seems like the longest film in the universe.

  2. Cool post! I love the look of stop motion.

  3. @lauralove: Isn't it though? I really want to write a paper on these films, haha. And I've done test audiences on how long people can stand to watch STD films, and they get bored after about 30 seconds. Kind of ridiculous, but I guess it's comparable to judging a script based purely on the first 10 pages.


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