Jeff Scher Creates 'Spring City' with iStopMotion

by Cara -

Jeff Scher is a painter and experimental filmmaker. His work is in the permanent collection of numerous museums, among them the Museum of Modern Art, and has been screened at film festivals around the world, including opening night at the New York Film Festival. He has also created work for corporations such as HBO, PBS, the Sundance Channel, and music videos for Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. Scher also teaches at the School of Visual Arts and at the N.Y.U. Tech School of the Arts. His videos are often featured in the Opinionator Blog of the New York Times.

Scher has been creating animated films independently since the early 70's, for a long time working exclusively on film. The, he met iStopMotion. "It immediately opened up fantastic new possibilities for animation," he says. "It supports all the things I did in film, only digitally, and it's immediate with no film or lab to pay for. It's essentially the perfect modernization of animation's photography. You can see what you're doing while you're doing it, both by onion skinning, and playing it back. The ability to try something, play it back and see if it works... change it a little and try it again is something that used to take days and weeks, and cost lots of money. With iStopMotion you can get immediate results and totally eliminate the lab variable."

In Scher's latest video, 'Spring City,' made with iStopMotion, he explores the wonders of Spring time in New York City. He describes the film as a "big wiggly dance set to Shay Lynch's mambo." 'Spring City' was photographed entirely by exploiting a neat quirk of the camera on his iPhone. "Shaking the phone vigorously while taking pictures in bright light will produce wonderfully rubbery, fun-house-mirror effects. Turning these still images into a movie required taking over 4,000 of them, wiggling the camera each time," says Scher. "I imagined every structure in every borough suddenly being freed from its stodgy, frozen-at-right-angles shackles as well. Straight lines are for winter. Spring is all about curves and things that wiggle and grow - like everything in 'Spring City.'"

To watch all of Scher's films made with iStopMotion visit his blog on the New York Times website or on hisYouTube Channel "Scherfilms." "iStopMotion brings you back to the basics... working with your hands and objects and materials from the real world," says Scher. "The simpler you can make a process, the happier I am. iStopMotion makes the shooting and animation process remarkably simple."