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