Grim tale shows narrative power of rotoscope technique

Enhancing live action with surreally evocative animation, this dark tale of life in a London pub is a real winner.

Rotoscoping is a technique whereby animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films. It's used in a strikingly effective way in this short to bring a narrative voice to a documentary-style drama about an Eastern European bartender working in a downmarket London pub.

Joseph Pierce, a graduate from the national film and television school, drew on his experience of living above a real-life pub in threading together all-too-familiar scenes of after-hours life to dramatic effect. Using the rotoscope technique he mirrors the sense-altering properties of alcohol with the animation, which pulls the viewer in and out of reality in a surreal, dreamlike fashion. As with many of Pierce’s previous works, The Pub starts off rather harmlessly, but as the alcohol begins to flow it quickly descends into a rather bleaker picture.

Pierce’s skilful work as both an animator and narrator has established him as one of the names to look out for in future festivals. Keep abreast with his latest work at his website or follow him on Twitter.

Words: Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson is an art and design student in London, who blogs about design, art and illustration. Follow him on Twitter.

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