I was incredibly excited to visit Aardman animation studios in Bristol for a packed three day Lecturer Development Course. As a huge fan of Aardman productions it was a dream come true to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of one of the biggest animation studios in the UK.
The first day began with an introduction from Creative Director and Co-Founder of Aardman, Peter Lord, followed by talks from Mark Simon Hewis, External Academic Moderator; and Lloyd Price, Aardman’s Head of Animation.
Throughout the rest of the day myself and a group of fellow lecturers were given a tour of the CGI department. We also were able to take a peek into the animation studios where the latest episode of Morph was being filmed.
Studio manager Nathan Sale gave a practical seminar covering an introduction to motion control, camera kits and the best type of lights to use for stop motion: LED vs Tungsten. It was a fantastic insight into the technical equipment Aardman use for commercial and feature film production.
On the second day Senior DOP Dave Alex Riddett (Curse of the Were Rabbit, Shaun the Sheep the Movie) led a wonderful masterclass on lighting and interactivity in animation using an actual Wallace and Gromit set.
The afternoon was spent touring the digital department with the interactive team, including a practical demonstration of the latest VR gaming developments.
The final day began with a talk from Chris Entwistle, Aardman’s Head of Modelmaking, and Jay Grace, Director and Senior Animator, who discussed model making techniques, including the most effective armatures.
Lloyd Price then gave an insightful talk on how to prepare students on applying for animation work after university. Lloyd shared his top tips on approaching companies, plus how to create an impressive showreel.
My experience at Aardman was extremely inspiring, from a filmmaker and lecturer point of view. I was encouraged to see a company with such a strong socialist approach to production, everyone I spoke to was friendly and enthusiastic about their work. I look forward to passing on my new found wisdom to my animation students!