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BBC Three Big Field

Recently I had fun animating laser eyes and compositing exploding melons for BBC Three’s second series of Big Field. The latest series chops up dialogue from TV programmes and interprets them in a silly way with actors in a big field. The series is created by Darren Dutton and Jonny Roberts.

Big Field 2 - Judge Rinder

The sketch I worked on blends up Judge Rinder into a laser shooting, moron hating, tap pervert. You can watch the rest of the sketches on YouTube or check them out on the BBC iPlayer




Animation and Sound

A long time ago (2009-2010?) Dave Allen from Animation Forum WM asked me to throw in my two pence worth for an article in Imagine Magazine about the relationship between animation and sound. So I thought I might as well share out those two pence before they disappear into the ether.

AFWM – Why do you think animation works so well with music?

Animation lets you do absolutely anything you want, so when it comes to interpreting/accompanying some music you’re limitless. Animation obviously isn’t real-life either, so when people watch it they’re more willing to suspend their disbelief, meaning you can push the boundaries of ‘weird’ or ‘unusual’ a lot more than with live action. Animation can also be used to create purely abstract interpretations of music which can capture the essence of the music in a much more interesting way than more literal imagery can sometimes.

AFWM – What are your all-time favourite animated music videos?

Bit of overload with the choices here but I’m quite indecisive… I think.


A Colour Box (dir. Len Lye, 1935)

For historical context.


Coffee & TV – Blur, (dir. Hammer & Tongs)

It takes the song and makes it a soundtrack to its own story. Funny too.


Most of Chad VanGaalen’s videos

Trippy madness, being a good example of how far you can push taste with animation.


Let Forever Be – Chemical Brothers (dir. Michael Gondry)

More effects based, but it twists your brain trying to work out how it was done.


The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl, (dir. Michael Gondry)

Doing stuff no-one would have the balls to do with Lego, although there is some CGI cheating in there. Also shows you don’t need any structure, story or literal interpretation to pull off a video when you’ve got some music to hold it together.


Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (dir. Jamie Hewlett)

Best and most animated examples of the Gorillaz’s videos.


Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (dir. Stephen R. Johnson)

Not really a favourite, but that video took some pulling off.


AFWM – How dependent is your animation on having a good quality soundtrack?

Just about any animation could do with some sound, even if it’s just the atmosphere of an empty room or the rustle of clothes. Sound adds extra information to what you’re watching. You don’t NEED sound for an animation to be good, it just makes making an impression a lot harder. On the flip side, if you have bad sound you’ll potentially ruin all the hard work of the animation. I’ve seen lots of work where that’s happened and it’s just a shame. It makes the animation unwatchable.

In terms of music, I try to make the physical acting do most of the work. Inappropriate music, or even any music can interfere with that acting and make it not as strong. But nearly every animator has had times where a character doesn’t move a pixel for over 5 seconds. Without any sound, that’d just be a picture. With sound it’s an emotion, an event or a story. The same applies to abstract animation. The music gives you extra information to bind everything you see together.

There we go. There’s been a been a huge amount of videos made since that I love and there’s many more live action music videos I love too. Check out Adam Buxton’s BUG round up for more awesome moments in music video history. For any more videos we like, head over to our YouTube Channel or Tumblr.

Aha! Here’s a bonus Take on Me with added literal interpretation lyrics:



YouTube Creator Playbook

A good spot by Ian here. YouTube’s created a very thorough guide on how to create effective videos on YouTube. Aside to the audience development techniques, there’s a lot of good points in there which directly relate to making solid comedy videos.

Here’s a link to the original YouTube Creator’s page.



That Escalated Very Quickly

Maybe they said they would fix it in post.

(via Tim Lozinski )

Man In A Who?

Chris Randall from Second Home Studios has done a nice rundown of Man In A Cat, this year’s other Digishorts films and his fondness for the phrase, “Covered in a sheen of pooey mucous.” I really had to live up to that phrase.

What’s that? Oh, yeah. Here you go:


I share some space with Chris at his Studio in Digbeth and I was there to witness the studio heaving and working around the clock to make this snazzy commercial for Pilsner Urquell:

New Spangly Press Photos

The very talented Jill Evans took some much needed press shots of us around the canals of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Jill was assisted by the equally super Daniel du Cros.

You can download higher quality images on Flickr… or lower quality images on Facebook (just because)

I think the most accurate comment of the day was being described as ‘The world’s weirdest boyband”.


Setting up an Animation Studio Outside the Capital

Animation Forum WM have organised a talk with animator Neil Bushnell (that’s him on the right) about setting up an animation studio. We’ll probably be popping along on Tuesday 1 March (it’s at The Studio in Birmingham), so we thought we’d let you know about it. 

Animators from around the region will be getting together in Birmingham this Tuesday for a free masterclass in establishing an animation studio by Niel Bushnell, founder of successful animation and visual FX outfit Qurios.

Niel Bushnell worked as an animator on feature films such as Space Jam and Lost in Space before establishing the award-winning, Newcastle-based, animation and VFX studio Qurios in 2002. 

Sounds good, no? To attend the event, you can RSVP via Directions to the venue can be found here.

Bend Your Neck For Turkd13

We couldn’t be arsed to do anything special for you this Halloween, but Turkd13 (if that IS his real name) certainly could! He sweded Mr. Dice! Unfortunately he couldn’t record any video, but here’s a nice making of…

Turkd13, we doff our cube to you.

Uncle Grandpa by Peter Browngardt

This is about as excited about a potential cartoon series as I think I’ve ever got. The concept is brilliant and potentially endless and the writing makes this one of the most quotable things I’ve seen in a while. It’s been made by the ever so slightly under-exposed Peter Browngardt and is crammed full of amazing lines and visual gags.

For me it’s a toss up between the slob mother and the super realistic flying tiger. But then again mistakes ARE God’s rainbows.

It’s probably not going to happen for a while though as he’s working on a serires called Secret Mountain Fort Awesome.

A Little Lie Down

As a little treat, here are Robert Popper’s silly phone calls that he introduced live at the last Popcorn Comedy. If you don’t already know, Popper’s alter-ego is Robin Cooper, author of the utterly brilliant Timewaster Letters books. The first clip is a phone call to Sky TV maintenance guy. He’s very patient. Have a listen.

The next two vids are Popper doing his ‘65% good’ (his words) impression of Margaret Thatcher calling the House of Lords about her lost bag. Enjoy.

If you get a call from Maggie Thatcher, I’d advise you ask if it’s Robert Popper first. It’ll save you a lot of time.