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Stratastencil Animation, Dance, and Poetry Take Flight in 'The Me Bird'

04.21.13 @ 1:13AM Tags : , , , , ,

Take a poem written by Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, combine it with transfixing stratastencil animation, throw in a strong piano score from Conrado Kempers and Pedro Carneiro, and have Brazilian design and motion graphics studio 18bis blend it all together. If you’re lucky you’ll end up with The Me Bird; a transfixing, textured dance film, realized through a mix of digital and crafted techniques. Fall into it after the jump:

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For those of you (myself included) who aren’t familiar with Neruda’s homonym poem which inspired the film, 18bis explain what they drew from that text in the film’s Vimeo description:


The inspiration in the strata stencil technique helps conceptualize the repetition of layers as the past of our movements and actions. The frames depicted as jail and the past as a burden serve as the background for the story of a ballerina on a journey towards freedom. A diversified artistic experimentation recreates the tempest that connects bird and dancer.

Stratastencil as a technique was devised by Javen Ivey for his Pratt Institute film My Paper Mind, who was himself inspired to create the additive animation process after seeing David Daniels’ strata-cut work.

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While Ivey’s creation came together physically through the painstaking X-Acto knifing of construction paper, the tree loving 18bis employed a mixture of green screen footage, After Effects and a ‘light use’ of paper for their echoes of action short as can be seen in this making of video.

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Regardless of the technique used to pull off the stratastencil effect, it’s a look which has inspired its fair share of videos and tutorials.

The Me Bird hit 100K views in under week as it flitted around social media shares and blogs. How do you think it stacks up against other films which have used the technique? Are there other examples we should all watch?

Link: The Me Bird — 18bis

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