Do you have a science fiction or fantasy project in your head? Are you trying to figure out how to shoot it on your smartphone, including fantastic creatures, on a limited budget? If so, you really need to take a look at the work and workflows of Ray Harryhausen. Start by watching the video above, an outstanding supercut of every creature Harryhausen ever animated, assembled by Mat Bergman.
One’s first impulse might be: “Those techniques look so old. I want modern CGI!” Sure, but do you have the budget to do CGI? Probably not, but while ground-breaking and expensive in his era, Harryhausen’s techniques are accessible and affordable to the modern filmmaker, even mobile creators.
Where Harryhausen had to invent tools like Dynamation and armatures, now many these tools are readily available to the average person. Now, with curiosity and a reasonable investment of time and money, one could soon be making their own stop-motion monster movies with their smartphone.
Where to start?
In the future, we’ll dive deeper into the tools and techniques you can use to make films this way. To get started, I suggest you study Harryhausen himself. Everything you need to is compiled below. Once, you’ve got a solid grasp of Harryhausen, you’ll start to understand how far the technology has come and how it remains relevant even in today’s CGI heavy world.
- Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema
- Harryhausen: The Lost Movies
- Ray Harryhausen’s Fantasy Scrapbook: Models, Artwork and Memories from 65 Years of Filmmaking
- The Dinosaur Films of Ray Harryhausen
- Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life
- Ray Harryhausen Talks Technique
- Harryhausen’s Dynamation
- Ray Harryhausen – The Ultimate 7 Film Collection
- Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan
- The Harryhausen Chronicles
- Ray Harryhausen Interviews
- Podcast: The Harryhausen Foundation
For a free deep dive on Harryhausen’s methods and career, we’ve assembled this playlist of interviews. Enjoy!