NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Despite all the latest technology and advancements in animation, many movie directors are still choosing to go old school, creating films using stop-motion animation.
A Brooklyn man is doing it in a different way, and chatted with CBSN New York’s John Dias about how much work goes into it.
The stop-motion film “Little Guys In Space” is supposed to take place millions of miles away, but most of it was filmed in David Pagano’s Brooklyn studio.
“Here at Paganomation I create animation with Lego bricks. They are all created with stop-motion, which is the classic film making technique where you move a character a little bit, you take a picture, move it a little bit again and take another picture,” Pagano explained.
Popular stop motion films include classics like “Coraline.” To complete just 100 seconds of finished animation took 28 animators a week, and two years to complete the whole thing.
As for the crews who worked on the 2014 film “Box Trolls,” one to two minutes of footage took a week. They worked on the movie on and off for 10 years.
Pagano’s three minute film took him and his crew years to complete.
“I spent around 2,528 hours on it over the course of seven and half years,” Pagano said.
He did it all out of Legos, not clay.
“I like the challenge of finding interesting pieces and using them in a new ways,” Pagano said.
One of his creations was featured in the first Lego movie, but most of that film is animated. Pagano physically manipulated everything in his film on set.
“I wanted to explore, just sort of experimental ideas and try things that no one else was doing with Lego animation. There is no mini figures in the this film,” Pagano said.
To demonstrate how much detail goes into the process, he turned Dias into a Lego. A week before meeting with Pagano, Dias sent him two pictures. Pagano then traced the images on a special graph paper and got to work.
“This is Lego graph paper, so every rectangle is one to one with a real Lego piece,” Pagano explained.
It took him six hours just to build a Lego version of Dias’ head.
“In this case, it was a toothy smiles and the front hair are the main things I wanted to capture,” Pagano explained.
For 20 minutes, Pagano went back and forth between moving and changing the Lego version of Dias and snapping photos – 24 pictures a second – just to capture a three second movement.
“Even if I laugh and realized ‘Oh, it’s like midnight, I have been here all day,’ I sort of ignore that in my brain because I have been so intent on animating,” Pagano said.
Bringing his characters to life, one Lego at a time.