Featured Animator Sergio Marques Dias

SergioMarquesDiasName: Sergio Marques Dias
Location: Differdange, Luxembourg

Q1) How long have you been animating?
1 year

Q2) How did you start making stop-frame animations?
First stop motion I did, was the video invite to my wedding. We posed, took a picture, took another picture and so on…

Q3) Why have you chosen Lego® and other brick products as your main medium to work in?
I’ve always loved Lego, and I had a few in the basement, so I decided to give it a try. I love animating with Lego because you can touch on sensitive topics, but with humor.

Q4) What is your setup like? Which camera and software do you use to make your movies?
I use a Nikon D7100, my first DSLR, with the basic lens 18-105mm. I use mostly Adobe Premiere.

Q5) On average, how many hours does it take to create your animations?
Ooohhhhh… Well depends on the animation. The brickfilm “The Engineer” took me 3 weeks, it was my first try at brickfilming. “The Parking Spot” took me 2 weeks. The problem is that everytime I do an animation video, I try to incorporate new movements or techniques that I never used.

Q6) Do you have a favourite mini-figure to animate, and what makes them so special?
Hahaha! My Mini-Me and my wife’s Mini-Her. He is, and will be in every of my future Brickfilms. Why it’s so special? Because they were a gift of my best friend for my wedding, and they sat on top of my wedding cake.

Q7) What can we look forward to in the near future from you?
Trick question. I don’t know, I go day-by-day, and when I have an idea, I write it down and hope to have time to realize it.

Q8) Where can people go for more information or to view your animations?
On my Youtube chanel → https://www.youtube.com/user/SergioMarquesDias and on my twitter account → https://twitter.com/SergioDiasLUX

Q9) What one piece of advice do you have for people wanting to start in stop-frame animating?
Don’t start right away, read a book or two about stop-motion for beginners. And afterwards, go for it. Don’t isten to people telling you it’s hard. Take critics well, most of them can take your animations to another level. You don’t have the material? Of course you have. Take your smartphone, a lamp, a figurine, and start taking pictures. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it.

Featured Video:

Nikon D5200 Camera Test 1

Nikon D5200

So, we have recently purchased a new DSLR camera, the D5200 from Nikon which we got for a very good price from Amazon, along with an SD card and Tripod. I have taken the camera out with me on a couple of occasions so far and am very pleased with the image quality I am getting from the camera. Part of the reason for buying this specific camera is that it has the Live View feature on it, which should allow me to use it for animating with Boinx’s iStopMotion software, so the other night I sat down and put it through some animation tests…

Firstly, I had problems installing Boinx’s iStopMotion on my iMac, so I am looking into that, but rather than waste my time, I just took some sequential shots on the camera that I then imported into Cateater’s StopMotionStudio on my iPad to create the animations… Obviously working just in the camera, and without onion skinning to see my last shot, the animations are a little jumpy, but the image quality is a vast improvement on my usual setup of iPhone Remote Camera and iPad combination. I tried animating with the auto focus and with manual focus as well as flash on and flash off to see what different effects I would get. I also realised that I need to buy a remote control for the camera… manually pressing the camera button to take the pictures obviously results in slight camera wobble each time, so a remote control should hopefully cure that problem!

One of my biggest problems with working with an iPhone as a remote camera is the auto-focus, which quite often will change of its own accord, even when turned off in the software and sometimes ruining the sequence I am working on. With the Nikon, the manual focus is a dream, it is sharp, accurate and sensitive, resulting in a crisp picture with some great depth of field not offered by the iPhone. Also, at 16.9Mp resolution, the images from the camera are that much better than the iPhone 4S that I normally use and as you would expect the light sensor in the camera gives a flat, clean image, whereas I find the iPhone images end up with a verify noisy background!

I still have a lot of work to do before I can get the camera properly integrated into my work flow, and getting Boinx’s iStopMotion working properly on my iMac is going to take priority now. I will keep posting updates on this, letting you know how I get on! Check out the video below to see the results of my first tests!

The test animations are at 12fps in 720px HD