Shaun the Sheep movie

A scene from "Shaun the Sheep"

In a box office climate where CGI animated films dominate, “Shaun the Sheep’s” directors find greener pastures in stop-motion animation. Manipulating real-life figures and models in front of a camera, it’s a technique that predates CGI and all of its bells and whistles by 60 years.

Still, there are no shortcuts in stop-motion animation.

“Stop-frame is just as complicated to do as CGI,” director Richard Starzak tells Made in Hollywood Teen. “You still have to do all of the same processes; it’s just that they’re done in the comfort of a room with computer screens and that we have to do it on a studio floor.”

To bring the world of “Shaun the Sheep”—a popular children’s series in the UK—to its full-length feature form, it took more than 157 human figures, measuring six-and-a-half- inches tall, and 197 sheep puppets—including 21 for the titular star Shaun—and 58 cameras in a studio that captured the story.

"Shaun the Sheep" co-writers/directors Richard Starzak (L) and Mark Burton show a model of a character used in the film

"Shaun the Sheep" co-writers/directors Richard Starzak (L) and Mark Burton

Co-director/writers Starzak and Richard Burton and their team produced 40 to 50 shots weekly, yielding two-and-a-half minutes of actual runtime footage. To put that into perspective, had a single animator created “Shaun the Sheep,” it would take nine years to complete.

With no obvious incentives to create films utilizing stop-motion’s time-consuming techniques, Starzak raises the obvious question: “But why do it?”

“It’s just where art-man’s craft comes from—that’s what has developed for so long,” he says. “There’s no reason to switch to CGI because we do this very well. It’s more of a niche market and more of a craft, but it’s what we do. We have made CGI films as well, of course, but stop-frame is where the art-man’s heart is, really.”

"Shaun the Sheep" hits theaters on Wednesday. Watch the trailer below.

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie

"Moving on to Pastures New"
PG1 hr 25 minJan 24th, 2015
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