Lee Hardcastle Builds a Directing Career with Extreme Claymation

When we dig into the specs of the latest and greatest camera gear here at NFS our natural bias tends to be reporting how these affect the work of the live action director, but long before Nikon and Canon began considering video as a viable feature to add to their DSLRs, stop motion filmmakers were already busy at work with these cameras creating their films painstakingly frame by frame.

British animator Lee Hardcastle is probably one of the most prominent stop motion directors -- at least in the online space, his YouTube channel has clocked up nearly 24 million views -- at the moment, building a growing army of fans for his original and re-imagined claymation work such as the recent re-telling of Gareth Evans' action feature The Raid featuring claymation cats (warning: Hardcastle's work is DEFINITELY not for kids):

Shot on the Canon 5D Mark II, Hardcastle created Claycat's The Raid in his Leeds studio over 20 days, manipulating his plasticine based characters through charmingly lo-fi cardboard and brown paper sets. That isn't to say his garage approach to filmmaking doesn't employ technical ingenuity when required, just take a look at his use of wire wool to create convincing muzzle flashes:

Hardcastle's technical prowess also extends to the creation of Stereoscopic 3D versions of his animations as can be seen in the zombie splatter-fest Chainsaw Babe:

In this quick tutorial How 3D Claymation is Made we get to see his 5D, IOTA Slider and Dragonframe 3 capture setup at work:

It seems that along with his online infamy, it won't be too long until Hardcastle's work makes the jump to the offline audience as well. He's already secured a place for himself in Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League's anthology feature The ABCs of Death by winning the 26th Director Competition with his entry T is for Toilet, and it was also recently reported that he'll be teaming up with Kill List and fellow ABCs director Ben Wheatley for the full on prison exploitation film Megaevilmotherfuckers. Guess that makes him one to watch, at least for those of us with a stomach for clay-based gore.

Have any of you done claymation yourself? Any tips you'd like to share?

Link: Lee Hardcastle

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Have a look at the excellent work of Adam Elliot (Mary and Max) and Darcy Prendergast from Oh Yeah Wow. One of the most hilarious (and offensive) stop go animations is Darcy's viagra Panda short film below .

Some Links:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KA7zAwYRzHI (brilliant)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZohmoG981s (light films)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgRjB8PEDkM (Max and MAry)

May 22, 2012 at 1:08AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

shaun wilson

Great choices Shaun. Particularly liked Rippled, that was 6months of production time definitely worth spending.

May 23, 2012 at 5:21PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


I stumbled upon Hardcastle's work one night on YouTube, spent the next hour or so watching everything he'd posted. He's definitely got a unique style and a twisted sense of humor... great to see him profiled here.

May 22, 2012 at 3:24PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


It's funny because some of the animation is so simple and then some of the gore scenes are really intricate and interesting. It some how sucks you in how much detail he goes into!

May 23, 2012 at 6:58AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Archie Campbell