Producer, director and editor? Cell phone fans say they are

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Producer, director and editor? Cell phone fans say they are

Keanu Reeves probably had to be hung up on wires in order to shoot the scene in the first of the “Matrix” movies, the one in which he seemed to freeze in mid-air, firing madly at bad guys while the camera rotated 360 degrees around him.
But without a single wire, the scene was made ― albeit not exactly as polished ― just by taking a number of still shots from a different angle to turn them into a stop-motion animated feature.
Stop-motion animation is the new buzz on the Internet. Known as ponca ani [phone camera animation] by Korean fans, the features are shot with cell-phone cameras and everyday objects.
Time-consuming? Stop-motion animation always as been. Each shot, of which there could be hundreds, must be carefully edited in order to produce a feature that looks good.
“I don’t think making ponca ani is painful, because I’m just doing it in my spare time,” said Park Jin-ah, 23. “I’m having so much fun.”
Under the nickname “Gomah,” Ms. Park’s animated features have made her a minor online celebrity. One short depicted a chicken making the ultimate self-sacrifice to become samgyetang, or ginseng chicken soup. Sticky rice and crushed garlic “walk” into a cavity in the chicken’s body, which bloats. The body then plops itself into a pot of boiling water.
It took about three hours to shoot the 250 frames for the feature, Ms. Park said. Editing the photos took about five hours.
Most online features don’t require such effort. The Matrix -style animation was done by Jeong Min-ho, 26. He said it took about 10 minutes to snap the 20 shots for the feature and another 10 minutes to edit the photos.
“My brother was actually the model,” Mr. Jeong said. Each shot required that he leap in the air. “I’m sure it was difficult for him to jump and make the same posture in mid-air several times ― he was sweating a lot. But for me, as the photographer and photo editor, it was very simple.”
Mr. Jeong works for an animation company, but he said it doesn’t take an expert to create a good feature.
“It’s very easy to create one. Anyone who knows a little about photo editing programs can create a simple one by himself, and I think that’s part of the attraction,” he said.
Spurred by the boom in online animation, KTF Co., a cellular phone operator, recently created a special site for the features on the company’s Web site.
“About 2,000 Internet users visit the section per day, and dozens of members upload their own creations,” said Moon Hyung-chul, an official in charge of the firm’s site. A “producer” of features can create what he or she wants more easily by using stop-motion animation than making a video clip with a camcorder, he added.
“Although people who don’t use the Internet give me strange looks when I’m taking still shots, people in the online community love it,” Mr. Jeong said. “That’s why I keep making new ones.”


by Park Sung-ha
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