This incredible stop motion movie called Unity was created by filmmaker Tobias Stretch, who is the winner of the Radiohead’s Weird Fishes animation contest. Hailing from Stevensville in Pennsylvania, he is a rising animator with a talent for attention to detail, refusal to settle for anything less than his own signature and singular artistic vision.
He made his new video for an original choral work by avant-garde composer Christopher Bono, and features over ten thousand individual photographs. Titled Unity, this movie is a labour of Herzogian proportions including frostbite caused by successive hours spent shooting in Philadelphia snow banks.
Unity is a swirling, soaring archetypal tale of loneliness, loss, love, and redemption, the kind of labour of love reminiscent of auteurs like Stanley Kubrick, the Brothers Quay, and Andrei Tarkovsky.
After receiving a mail from Bono seeking visuals with a lot of imagery to animate for his music, Stretch got down to business right away. The only task at hand was to refine and render all of that into an animated form that could match the power of the piece Bono had created. Ideas that could be animated were developed to show different states of mind, being and time as it relates to the lyrics of Unity.
The techniques used all come down to stop-motion animation with some software tweaks. Using a host of different materials to build and animate with, Stretch works with large, life-sized armatures as much as 10 feet tall.
While most of the footage was shot during the heavy snows and frigid temperatures of the winter of 2013, the overall shoot took about 16 hour days consecutive days. Trying to animate the snow in subfreezing temperatures was undoubtedly no joke, and Stretch had to deal with a lot of mishaps to capture this amazing video.