High Above the Sky

A short animated film by Kim Noce and Shaun Clark


High above the sky it is a short animated film aimed at children, families and at the young at heart.

The film explores the relationship of a young child and its father during the ever-challenging daily chores. The script was inspired by the musing of the script writer, Helena Thompson, her child and workshops for children where the final story was created.

The film was created partly in stop motion and partly in cut out animation in After Effects. All the set, the props and the characters were built real  puppets and objects made out of cardboard, cut out, glued and carefully hand painted. We had the pleasure to collaborate with the youths at Spid theatre where they helped us to create some of the artwork. You can enjoy their handicraft in the supermarket scene.

Most of the animation was done in stop motion, and sometimes we used green screen. Even the transitions, from one set to the other, were created in stop motion with a basic Nikon camera, a basic tripod, a remote shutter-release and a lot of patience. The rest was created in AFX using collage or a sequence of animated cut-out pictures of the props and the characters. The film took no more than four months from script to final delivery

Through different visual pattern we tried to mimic how a child explore his surrounding, what he sees, what catches his interest and how his imagination it is reflect in the representation of the surrounding.The style aims to create a tactile and unpolished feeling as if the sets were made by an actual child, mimicking hand made toys. Stars are held by strings, objects are sometimes tridimensional puppets and sometime they are flattened.  At times they are full of details and at others they are just block colors, as an unconventional way to shift focus between what is important in the scene and what it isn’t. To leave element half drawn, it is a technique often used with hand drawn animation and we were interested in exploring the same “trick” with a stop motion film.

All the sounds effects were created with recordings made with actual children voices. David Pringle, the sound designer, had few lovely sessions with the children at Spid Theatre and then he recreated the entire soundscape using the children vociferous experiments and interpretation of real sounds. We wanted to recreate the feeling that the journey was told through the eye and the ears of a child; were reality and imagination blurs together.

The wonderful music was created by Hutch Demoulpied and Chris White, we aimed to create emotional punctuation to the story, guiding through Leo’s internal journey. The music creates clear marking for the story development, delineating five different acts within the story.

The voices were acted by Paul Mundell ,as the Father and Narrator, and Cyan Waites, as Leo. Cyan is only six year old and he never acted before. We wished the voices to portray the telling of a fairy tales, after all even a journey in the supermarket might be magical.

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