Image: Mashable, Christina Ascani
If you're an active Vine user, you've probably seen some of Dylan Blau's incredible work. The 20-year-old stop-motion animator is famous for making extraordinary CGI-free Vine videos, often with basic material like clay and paper.
Recently, Blau hosted a hands-on tutorial at Social Media Week NYC. His presentation included tips on bringing everyday objects to life in a Vine video, making infinite cutout animations using the Strata Stencil technique and planning out unique stop-motion stories. Audience members were encouraged to take part in the action and create their own videos.
Image: Mashable, Annie Park
Blau, a university student in Lucerne, Switzerland, has proven to the Vine community that the creativity you can fit in a six-second window is limitless. It's impressive that he's able to create such stunning visuals — between school and his day job, it seems he would hardly have time to craft.
Blau also works as a freelance animator, and is an active member of the All Natural Vines group. He recently sat down with Mashable to chat about his successful year leading content creation on Vine.
Mashable: How did you get started on Vine?
Blau: I came across Vine while scrolling through the app store last April. It looked interesting, so I downloaded it. After exploring it a bit, I saw that Ian Pagham, yelldesign and Charlie Love were doing some amazing things on the platform, and I immediately wanted to hop on it. I started with clay animations, but soon learned that I enjoy working with paper because it's more versatile.
Can you walk us through your brainstorming process for your Vine videos?
When I’m working on big projects, the hardest part is coming up with a good idea. I often think of something and then adjust the details again and again until I'm fully satisfied with the whole concept. Then I storyboard by sketching out my ideas on small squares that represent each frame. But I have vined without planning before, which surprisingly worked out well; when I was in Paris, I took a bus tour on which we drove around the Arc de Triomphe. I had never made a Vine postcard before, nor had I experimented with time-lapse in general. But I wanted to be spontaneous, so I took out my phone and started shooting a stop-motion video while circling the arc. The result was much better than I thought it would be.
Which Vine video are you most proud of?
I definitely favor my Sherlock Holmes one. It took three weeks to make: two weeks of prep and one full week of shooting. It is my most ambitious Vine video so far.
Blau showed us a few behind-the-scenes photos from this shoot.
What are your thoughts on Vine videos being limited to six seconds?
I don’t see it as a limitation. The six-second rule forces me to think outside the box. It also gets me to be creative. The short length motivates me to try make my videos loop perfectly. Also, I don't think I would have started creating stop-motions if they had to be longer than six seconds. Each one would take way too much time.
How do you think Vine has changed the way people value stop-motion technique and its animators?
Quite honestly, I think artists have proven to grow a lot more and a lot faster on Vine than they could on a video-sharing website like Vimeo. Vine has benefitted these animators by being the platform that brings value to their work. There are some really talented, creative people who, thanks to the app, now have the large audience they deserve.
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Topics: Apps and Software, crafts, Social Media, stop motion, Vine