Shadowy Stop-Motion Animals Are Gorgeous

Stop-motion in the dark is creepy but beautiful.

by Beckett Mufson
12 May 2016, 3:00pm

Image courtesy the artists, GIF via

The beasts that go bump in the night are real, in the world of London-based filmmakers Wriggles and Robins' new short film, Nightlife. These monsters keep to the shadows, make the hair on your neck stand up straight, and dance in the corners of your vision.

Thanks to a special Nikon camera designed for low-light situations, directors Matt Robinson and Tom Wrigglesworth are able to capture the shadowy creatures in the bewitching short. "The project started with the idea of bringing to life a series of nocturnal animals and having them running from the wilderness into an empty city. We loved the idea that these animals could come to life whilst the city was asleep," Robinson tells The Creators Project. "Shooting at night meant that we had to light everything with flashes—the great thing about this was that it gave us complete control over how we illuminated the cutouts and the environment. Small changes and tweaks to our setup could have huge impacts on the look of the scene. This also means there are lot of variables which come into play—for example the shots where you can see haze were captured in the earlier hours of the morning when there was more moisture in the air, which the flashes picked up."

The 90-second film is made of 7,434 images, and uses 84 life-sized foam board cutouts of animals attached to a camera on a dolly running a 20-meter track. Robinson and Wrigglesworth made Nightlife with a pair of Nikon D810's the company gave them for the project. The settings for each frame are in the bottom right corner of the screen, so you can go home and recreate the effect yourself. Check out the full short below and click here to see a behind-the-scenes timelapse of the shoot.

See more of Wriggles and Robins' work on their website.


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