Rotoscoping

I’ve had this idea for a film on Norman Schwartzkopf Jr. for over 5 years now. There are many interesting moments when his life intersects with mine–I don’t want to say more for now because I don’t want to give the good twists in the film away. The general idea is to use it as a creative way to talk about US foriegn policy in Iran.

There’s been many steps involved in making it happen. Last year I finally finished an important research step and finished reading his biography “It Doesn’t Take a Hero.” In it, he tells a story from his childhood of being enchanted by a robin singing in a tree and then seeing it die and making a vow to never hurt a living being again. I was struck by the contrast of this sort of idyllic, peaceful scene with the image of “Stormin Norman” who lead what is often referred to as an “effecient war” in the Persian Gulf.

This week I tried my hand at some old-school rotoscoping with a modern twist. I found a clip on you tube of a robin singing in a tree, converted it to a Quicktime file and then printed out frames from the video which were kinda botchy and distorted because of the low resolution after those two steps. Then, I traced the frames with my new lightbox, then painted it with water color.

Below is frame 1 of 2880 to create about 2 minutes of animated footage. Imagine that the colors will flow in a sort of magical dance once the frames are all stacked and animated.

rotoscope-1

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4 Comments

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  1. this is so cool that you are doing the rotoscoping thing… but wow, what a lot of work! and you have to know i’m excited to hear you talking about the Schwartzkopf film idea again. i always wondered if you’d ever done anything with that. i still think it’s a great idea.

  2. Thanks!!

    My last film (Cusps) I hand scratched images off into unexposed 16mm film–so I feel up to the challenge of the rotoscoping. It’s nice to be out of school and on my own spacious schedule with it (read: no deadline. so don’t be surprised if it takes another 5 years to finish!! ha.)

    It’s kinda of amazing to be following through on things that have been in mind for so long. . .feel like there’s a lot of that happening in my life recently. Maybe I’m just learning more patience?

  3. For sure, Naima! I love the idea.

    Maybe we can have a rotoscoping get-together in your studio and I can bring my tracing table and paints with.

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