CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 38 . . . . June 3, 2011
Animate Everything = Tout Peut S’Animer.
Scott Kiborn (Writer & Director). Svend-Erik Eriksen & Martin Rose (Producers). Rina Fraticelli & Tracey Friesen (Executive Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2010.
13 min., 36 sec., DVD, $99.95.
Order Number: 153C 9910 204.
Grades 2-5 / Ages 7-10.
Review by Meredith Ball.
Just like plays, films, books and comics, animation invites an audience to observe and interact with the world in new and magical ways. We can bring paper cut-outs to life to tell a story of adventure, or make a hammer walk or interact with a floating flower. Animation techniques develop character and emotion through tempo, repetition and timing; they challenge conventional notions of representation, imagination and human interaction.
Animate Everything is a fun and energetic way to introduce children to the basics of animation. This collection, which consists of five short videos all included on one DVD, provides brief explanations of the general concepts behind certain animation styles. The first video, “Animate Anything,” shows the basic process of taking pictures, while moving objects slightly between shots, to create the illusion of animation when the pictures are shown in rapid succession. The second video, “Flip It,” gives a short introduction to the concept of flip-books. The third video, “Shape It,” highlights stop-motion animation by using cut-out shapes to create moving pictures. The fourth video, “Animate People,” describes how taking a series of images of a person can also make an animation. The fifth, and final, video, “Classroom in Motion,” demonstrates various ways that animations can be made in the classroom.
Each video is hosted by siblings Lindsay and Will. Together, they create animations using everyday objects, such as rocks and sticks, cut-out shapes, flowers, and even images of each other. They explain how animations can be done, and then they take the viewer through an elaborate demonstration which shows the many possibilities of creating moving pictures. The videos are colourful, fun, and lively. They show both simple and complex animations and illustrate the various ways children can be inspired by what they see around them every day. They also encourage students to use their imaginations to make their own “magic.”
Included with this DVD is a digital comic book which allows viewers to take another look, at a slower pace, at the concepts defined in the videos. In addition to this, there is also a teaching guide with this DVD, and it provides information on the history of animation, definitions of some key animation terms, an overview of what each of the videos covers, information about the animators who created the film, and some in-class activities that can be completed alongside the videos. The DVD is playable in both English and French, and each language is equally energetic and playful.
The videos in this collection are not instructional guides. They briefly cover the basics of some styles of animation, such as taking photos and then looking at them in rapid succession to see a moving picture, but a good portion of each video is dedicated to showing some of the creative ways these styles of animation can be put into practice. It is obvious that a lot of effort went into the animations made, and the videos are very entertaining to watch. However, as an introduction to the physical process of animation, Animate Everything does not provide step-by-step instruction on how to complete projects. When combined with the teaching guide, these videos can be much more effective as learning tools, but on its own, the DVD is more successful simply as a tool for inspiring the creativity of viewers.
Meredith Ball is currently completing her Masters of Library and Information Science in London, ON. She loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.
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