Life Buoy is my project for my degree at the National University of Arts from Bucharest. The film was made in mid 2010 and it is a music video for the song Life buoy by the band The Pixels. I used a mix of stop motion animation techniques in order to tell the story.

My role:

Script, Director, Director of Photography & Camera Operator, Editor

The project:

Worth Mentioning:

Synopsis

A modern day knight slips into an imaginary where he is not welcome. He undergoes daring challenges to stay in the world where he is alone. This journey is a tribute to the tales of 1001 nights and to classic Romanian fairytales, but it all happens in a modern world, where the bicycle replaces the horse, a cardboard dog replaces the dragon, and some chairs stand in for the mountain, the place where the truth lies. Whether he finds the truth or not will determine the fate of the young knight: he will either go back to the real world, or he will live this imaginary experience as if it was a dream. Everything can happen all over again.

The story behind my movie. Hidden meanings and refferals from my movie. 

 The first scenes introduce us to the character. He is a modern day hero who is living his own fairytale. To prove this, I added the coloured cloth, an element which gives us a preview of what is about to come. The character encounters a flight of stairs shaped as a spiral and starts climbing. He then disappears, only to appear again in the next scene. Here, we see the character again, but from another point of view. 

He starts falling through a lot of toys and tries to hang on to the coloured cloth as if it was a rope. The rope ends, and I suggest the fall of the character by making the background cloth disappear. The rooms floor creates a new, more dinamic decorative element of the scene. The character lands on a bike and continues his evolution. A menacing red dog appears behind him. The movie reaches its climax when the dog nearly bites our hero. Right in this moment, the flow of the movie stops. This is a cultural quote towards the work of David Hockney. 

This moment, when I stop the image is also a referral towards the control I have over the visual narrative and an agression towards the viewer, who must accept that these images do not tell their own story. 

The ascent of the character suggests the idea of a neverending pursuit. Its end is marked by the appearance of a phone booth. When the character begind to speak on the phone, I suggest the presence of another person at the end of the line using cut out letters which substitute sound. Thus, I try to develop some issues raised by communication. The multitude of communication channels and their alternation does not guarantee the reception of the message in its complete form. 

This also reflects in the control I have over the filmic narration. This control, together with the manipulation of the images does not guarantee the reception of the message in its integrity. 

Towards the end of the movie, I made a visual collage using fragments of photographs made from different angles and at different periods of time. I am trying to simultaneously present the action of the character, from different angles. It is a referral to Cubism and the photographic experiments of David Hockney. 

The last scene closes the narrative circle and represents a return to the debut scenes. Thus, I dont draw conclusions, but suggest a possible different progress of the same events. 

Technical aspects of the film: 

Over 5400 photographs were shot for the animation, using a Canon 40D with Canon EF-S 10-22 F3.5-5.6 USM and Canon 24-105 F4 L USM lenses. For the indoors scenes I used three 250 watts Hensel Flash triggered with Pocket Wizzards. The camera was controlled through a MacBook laptop using the Canon EOS Utility and a long USB cable. 

Credits: 

Starring Ovidiu Naclad 
Art director: Sebastian Oprita 
Photoshop collage: Vlad Jerca
Credits soundtrack: Radu Oprea 
Thanks to Florin Costache 
Music Life Buoy by The Pixels