Animation, Propaganda and Satire – Fake News Machine Animation

The development of my stop-motion animation about fake news.

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Once I had made all of the models and backgrounds I started animating them using stop-motion. I filmed the animation in two bits. The first part consists of the scenes outside of the machine, in the warehouse. The second part is made up of the scenes inside of the machine, where you see the words being manipulated and changed. I had to film these bits in two parts because the machine itself is a 3D model that stands up in a 3D set, whereas the models inside of the machine are card and paper cutouts that are put on top of a flat background and then animated.

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Screenshot from the finished animation,

After I had filmed all of the stop-motion parts of my animation I imported all of the frames into Adobe After Effects. Here I added all of the effects needed to finish my animation. I added the steam coming from the machine and the words that go through the various stages in the machine. I also added lights and a digital screen to the internet box. I then added in the twitter birds here too. I decided to add all of these various things digitally rather than sticking with the theme of stop motion as I thought that the digital elements

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Screenshot from the finished animation.

would help to convey my message clearly. For example the digital text and twitter birds that fly off with the new words at the end are digital as most fake news is spread on the internet and  its websites online that make up the fake news. Adding the words digitally also allowed me to add effects to them like a change in colour or size when the different parts of the machine does different things to them.

After I had added all of the effects needed to complete my animation I added sound. I used free sound websites to find clips of mechanical noises for my machine. I then added these short clips of audio to my animation in Adobe Premiere Pro. These sounds helped to bring my machine to life and they also helped to explain what different parts of the machine were doing to the words.

Below is the final animation.

Animation, Propaganda and Satire – Making the Set and Models.

Describing the process of assembling the set and model of the fake news machine.

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Stop-motion set up

Once I knew the size of the space I would we working in I was able to start constructing the set. I had decided on the machine being set in an old, dingy and dark warehouse. In order to make this I used cardboard to create the back wall and sides of the warehouse. I then decided to paint the card so that it looked different to the machine as that would also be made out of card. I smeared different coloured acrylic paints onto the card using thinner pieces of card. This allowed the texture of the card to remain. I used blacks, greys, yellows and reds to add colour to the card. The idea was to make the walls look like old rusty worn out metal. I didn’t want to cover the card completely in paint as I wanted to keep the texture of it.

To make the machine I used cardboard for the main body. For the metal pipes I used thick straws and spray painted them silver to make them look like metal. For the internet box I used card that I spraypainted. I decided to do this as I needed it to look different to the rest of the machine and I wanted it to look more futuristic but still worn down so I smeared a darker grey colour on top of the spray paint to make it look dirty.

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Experimenting with lighting and camera angle.

Once I had everything set up I started experimenting with lighting. In the end I used a dim, yellowish lamp to light the whole scene and I also used spotlights to highlight the machine and to make it stand out from the dark background. I then experimented with the camera angle, I decided on a low angle looking up at the machine in order to make it look much larger and ominous.

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Other Props

To film the parts of the animation that take place inside the machine I decided to film them on a flat surface with the camera above them. This would be easier than trying to make all of the models able to stand up. For the background I repurposed a piece of the warehouse walls. I then made the other models using coloured paper and card.

 

The colour pallette for this animation is quite dark and moody. I wanted it to look this way because the dark colours reflect the dark and dingy atmosphere of the warehouse. These colours also help to make the machine and its surroundings look old and worn down which helps to imply that the machine has been working and making fake news for a long time.