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Fire in Cardboard City

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 25, 2018

What happens when a city made entirely of cardboard catches fire? Nothing good, as Phil Brough’s 3D animated short film clearly illustrates. Fire in Cardboard City has been playing at film festivals around the world and now thanks to the New Yorker, you can watch the whole thing online. Sarah Larson talked with Brough about how the film came together.

The results look so realistic that they could almost be stop-motion. “I built a big virtual set, I guess, is how you could describe it,” he said. “The characters are like stop-motion marionettes in a way; they have joints to the arms and the knees and all of that, and controllers.” He then used a low-budget motion-capture process — a D.I.Y. version of Hollywood’s green screens and Ping-Pong-ball suits — using the XBox Kinect and special software. “It sees you doing the motions you want the character to do, and then you can transfer that to the animation so you can transfer that onto your characters,” he said. He considered having a giant robot attack Cardboard City, and then settled on fire: that looked kind of cool, too.

I *love* the DIY corrugated cardboard look of this film…I’d happily watch a feature-length version of this. See also Caine’s Arcade. (thx, karen)