Our Coast, Our Sea, OUR PLANET!

In February this year we were invited by Richard Marsh of the Barefoot Project to run an animation project over three days at a local secondary school. Work commitments meant Kayla could only be there for the first day and Stuart for only one more - two days to shoot a film with novice animators! The Ridgeway students had visited the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth for a scientific grounding in the film's subject - the effects of rising sea temperature on the marine ecology.

On arriving at the Ridgeway School we quickly set to work with Kayla organising the students' stories into a filming script and developed an ingenious narrative including an octopus chat show host and a naughty sea-horse.

Meanwhile Stuart surveyed the filming resources. Not good: a few PCs in the school library with webcams and some extremely basic stop frame software. Luckily we had our trusty MacBook and the school had a single DV camera with a tripod in its reprographic unit so a mini animation studio was created under the library stairs.

Models were made out of plasticine, scripts written and the production groups took turns filming with iStopMotion. The production groups also recorded the dialogue for their scenes in a couple of very creative, full-on days!

Stuart edited the material in Final Cut Pro over the following weeks producing an enjoyable and quirky rough cut. Discussions with the National Marine Aquarium - who were organising the UK part of the competition - resulted in script revisions to boost the scientific information in the film.

A trip back to Ridgeway School followed on the 15th May when new dialogue was recorded straight to the MacBook using a Mackie Onyx Satellite. That evening Stuart worked from 6pm to midnight then 6am to midday on the deadline day. The new audio was edited and the film had to be adjusted to accommodate it. The finished DVD was raced to the aquarium and posted to the competition organisers in Brussels - phew!