The animation director Max Hattler has ushered in 2013 with the release of an interesting new short film entitled Unclear Proof. In it, stop-motion UFOs fly about forming patterns, morphing and changing alongside musical and audio effects by Alexey Devyanin. The film was commissioned by the organisers of the Lago Film Festival, who asked him to make a short about the Perlage winery in Farra di Soligo, in northern Italy. And if you look closely, although this is about UFOs, you might be able to identify some of the objects that form them - they're all wine-related.
"I came with an open mind, knowing that I wanted to use materials exclusively from the winery. The most appropriately animatable objects I found were discs, cylinders, bolts, corks and bottle caps. So based on that, I decided to make a UFO-themed film, connecting alcoholic intoxication to flying saucer hallucination," says the German director, now based in London.
The creative process was very hands-on. UFO elements were collected from the bottling plant then introduced in various combinations onto a mirror board. With the camera mounted in rostrum fashion, he turned, moved and interchanged the pieces inbetween shots to create the choreographed motion. Each piece has a very physical presence - you can see the materials they're made out of, and even certain surface imperfections.
"Some of my films are highly digital, and that's appropriate for some work," continues Hattler, "but I like using real objects as they connect you to the world of lived experience. There's a different kind of enjoyment in watching something magical or unbelievable, while knowing or seeing that the objects actually exist and have a different purpose in their off-screen lives."
No stop-motion software was used in the making of the film, which was captured frame-by-frame using a locked-off camera. The final edit was done in After Effects, with a little image replacement carried out for the morphing sequences, some rotation of the objects, as well as digital clean-up.
Unclear Proof follows on from previous sci-fi themed shorts such as Model Starship (below), where various cosmetics take flight. Watch for his upcoming release which carries the hefty title A Very Large Increase in the Size, Amount, or Importance of Something Over a Very Short Period of Time.