Stop Motion Journal Entry 11: The Nightmare Before Christmas technical review

This previous weekend we were assigned a journal entry describing the technical aspects of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The entirety of the film was made with twelve to 24 fps as a standard and for fluidity of movement. But other FPS was used to differentiate the movement of other characters due to size,anatomy, and physiology. Two main things you will notice during the beginning of the film are the Movements and Lighting. Almost the entire movie (referring to camera movements) uses large amounts of tracking (in and out) and panning shots after introducing each scene and making it very fluid. Every character has a unique anatomy and follows various movements mostly with their mouths and limbs. One example is Sally and Jack. They have a more human-like anatomy walking on two legs and lip syncing like regular people. Sally’s scientific creator, Dr. Finkelstein, sits in a chair that tends to jerk every now and then. The speed of the chair jerks (old broken down wheelchair) a lot while the Finkelstien movements in the chair are very fluid. The bigger, fatter characters tend to sway from side to side in choppy movements (shorter frame rates)and other large characters are more fluid when they walk or ride on things such as bikes. All characters even have unique movement with their mouths (also due to anatomy). I’m sure that ADR and Foley was used after the creation of the film.

Halloween town in the film is basically a town full of nightmare horrors, animals, and monsters of all categories, so it makes sense for the atmosphere to appear dark, grim, and unhappy vs Christmas town, which is full of joy, happiness, cheer, and holiday feelings. The difference between these two settings in the story is lighting and color. Halloween town has very little lighting and more dark space. Only certain areas in the Halloween town are lit with light. This might have been possible with small diffused flashlights with color filters (green and grey) to give it that grim, hallow feeling creating tone and mood. Christmas town on the other hand gives you a holiday feeling with the two most familiar and marketed colors of the holidays: Red and Green. This creates a familiar happy tone and mood towards the audience. At times in the film, color tends to change due to atmosphere (time of day in atmosphere), or mood of the character. For example, when Jack was introducing the name of the character, Santa Claus, he made an emotional, sinister face which was lit the color red — becoming more dramatic. Oogie boogie’s musical part came as sinister using glow in the dark paint (mainly green and blue hues) and lighting — Dramatic effects of sinister musical.

The entire movie was well thought out with storyboarding and modeling, executing structures of characters, shooting, then redoing sounds with ADR and adding Foley. Every shot was not boring and helped relay the story because they used cameras that tracked every shot making the film appear fluid just like a normal live action movie.

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