DanielRM | Cinematographer

Listen To Me Sing

A Stop Motion short about a miserable hotel performer who learns to express herself when she falls in love with a walrus.

March 10, 2019

Principal Photography for Listen To Me sang began on the 29th of May 2018. We had been in prep for about 2 months prior to this which mainly consisted of figuring out how we would combine both the live action and the stop motion worlds. Our Director, Isabel Garrett, was keen for our character to be living within a 1/6th miniature scale world but for the world outside her window to be the same one that we occupy. A full scale and vast landscape to look out to.

We decided we wanted to incorporate as many real elements into the film as possible. This meant combining live action with stop motion wherever we found the opportunity. For our establishing shots of the hotel this meant taking our crew and the models out to Yorkshire to shoot a series of exterior wides. Our film was mostly set at night, but recognising that if we were to shoot our plates at night we would just be shooting into darkness, we decided we would shoot a series of Day for Night plates. Then we had to wait until it got dark in order to shoot the practical lamps inside the windows of our hotel. Setting up in the morning was all fine, but the real adventure started when we had to de-rig and pack up while on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere while it was pitch black.

Our opening and closing shots were also a nice mix of live action and stop motion. Using a water tank and dry ice to create a really atmospheric environment for Sophie our lead character. The rock we used in the centre of the tank was at a different scale to Sophie. Which meant that when shooting the stop motion plates we had to create a scaled up green screen version of our rock to place Sophie on when animating.

I also realised that light would be somewhat of a tricky one on this shot as our Snorkle lens we were using to get close to the water has a Tstop of T7, + we were shooting at 200 frames per second which meant that we were going to need allot of light. We ended up lighting our 1foot wide rock with a 12k fresnel which seemed a bit excessive but its what we needed to get a good exposure. The trailer for the film is linked below where you can see this shot.

Once all our plate shots were done we got down to the stop motion element of the project. Stop motion is a lengthy process but what stood out for me was how much I enjoyed the intricacy and detail in the lighting. I loved how tiny changes made big differences to the scene. The concept of lighting these space is the same no matter what scale your working at, but when its 1/6th its just allot more manageable, especially on your own and you have time to try out 3 or 4 different methods.


Some screen shots below of the film. Feel free to message me on info@danielrm.com if you’d like to watch it.