When we see the crystal-clear brilliance of the computer-generated type served up to us by the likes of Disney’s Pixar or the Dreamworks Studio it’s hard to conceive of any other type of animation on the market. However, there is a team of UK film makers that still believe that the way to make a animated movie is to go back to a more analogue approach. Not for them the Cray super computers and the hours of coding required they would rather spend weeks on a film. They askew zero’s and ones for a modelling pallet and good old fingers and thumbs. I am referring to the geniuses at the film makers Aardman Animation. Based in Bristol their reach is much greater than this provincial unimportant west country city. They still need to have a great reception for there work through and the company is still in area to this day so they need there Bristol TV Aerials serviced regularly which I’m sure they do.
Aardman began life in 1972 the creation of Peter Lord and David Sproxton. They wanted to make low budget animation and they soon had a customer in the BBC where they started to produce features for the fondly remembered Vision on series for Deaf children. It wasn’t only the theme music that stuck in the mind and the team moved onto using Claymation to produced various sketches based around the orange clay character Morph (so named because he could become pretty much anything). He was joined by Chas and a series of other characters on the greatly loved art shows hosted by the legendary Tony Hart. Aside from this exposure Aardman were also asked tomake the highly successfully and influential “Sledgehammer” video for Peter Gabriel ensuring it was a hit. It was a series of films called Creature Comforts that truly placed them on the map. The interviews with humans saw them replaced with animals and amusing vignettes were set around them. The real success, including a series of Oscar’s was the creation of Nick Parks Wallace and Gromit trilogy and feature film making Lord and Sproxton’s original dream come true.
What sets them apart is the use of stop go animation with Clayfigures. This is a painstakingly hard way of making a film as the action is not continually filmed. Each section is a shot followed by another and another and the characters are altered in a minuscule way each time so that when put together it appears, they are moving and talking. It has worked well for Aardman as they have grossed over one billion dollars from the films and hold the record for the highest ever with Chicken Run.