If The Borrowers were a modern dance troupe, rather than a film about a family of miniature DIY engineers, they might look like the characters in filmmaker Wilkie Branson's new short, Little Dreams. A trained choreographer with a library of dance footage at his disposal, Branson decided to revitalize his old videos with a stop-motion twist, animating 4,800 tiny cutouts of dancers pirouetting and leaping across his home furniture. The really special thing about this video is the attention to detail: as a dancer dives through a coffee mug's handle, she realistically grasps its ceramic surface as if her moves had actually been performed around a massive cup.
Branson explains his arduous year-long animation process, as well as the process of finding a process, in a comment on his Vimeo page:
"Initially I tried filming the shots as close as possible to the original camera moves (but scaled down) and then match moving them. But with people walking off into he 'depth of the scene' even small disparities in the planes of the surfaces mad problems. In the end I experimented with printing out the cutouts from key frames on acetate and then I made a device to hold this in front of the camera to check the planes and perspective were correct. But even this was not that accurate and very time consuming. So in the end I just did it by eye and ran upstairs after each shot and tired it out before running back down and doing it again. I just did this till I got it almost right. I think for all the shots in the film I have about 800 takes... so I can't say its a very efficient way to make a film!"
Even if it wasn't efficient, the result is beautiful:
Visit Wilkie Branson's website for more of his dance and film work.