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Students create animated videos with visiting artists

By Thao Nguyen ’15

Four students staged a Tiny Circus in McWethy Hall during Block 1, developing a series of videos using stop-motion animation. Working closely with two facilitators, the team produced four short videos that they showed on campus and at the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival.

Brought to Cornell by Professor Tony Plaut, Tiny Circus  projects are led by a collective of artists who travel around the country to host stop-motion animation workshops at schools, museums, and art festivals. The students who worked together on the independent study project were sophomores Caitlyn Kleinman and Kevin McCusker, and seniors Bob Porter and Hannah Cohn.

Using  two- and three-dimensional paper as their primary material, the four students developed creative and witty interpretations of three of the seven deadly sins—greed, wrath, and lust—along with a video titled Cornucopia. To learn the basic skills , they first created a simple practice video, which  took eight hours to shoot and edit and resulted in just 24 seconds of footage.

However, the most challenging part of the project was not mastering video editing software or coming up with creative ideas, but engaging in the creative process as members of a team.

“It is not about learning another medium in art, it is about doing art in a totally different environment,” said Kleinman, a studio art major. “Artists usually work independently, but in this project I had to learn how to work with other people and how to convey my ideas effectively to my teammates. This definitely put me out of my comfort zone.”

“The lesson is collaboration,” added Porter, who is majoring in economics and business. “We learned how to formulate ideas and how to put ideas into practice, which is much more difficult than I expected. It is a real challenge, but a fun one.”