Paper Cut London

Personal account > Short film > Philip Evans > London

Describing the process taken to create this mesmerising stop-motion skate edit.

I’d had the vague idea in the back of my head for ages about drawing on skate footage but it didn’t materialise until now.

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Lightbox inking

I used to try drawing on super 8 film but its so tiny that you couldn’t get any detail. So then I thought why not print some HD footage and draw over it.

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Lightbox drawing

It took around a year and a half but that’s because it didn’t have a budget. I was doing a bunch of videos in between too so that’s why it took so long.

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Lightbox tunnel

First I shoot the footage and edit it like a regular video just to make sure it works as an edit in its own right. When I have the shots locked down I export each scene at different frame rates. I couldn’t go too low for the skate stuff or the tricks wouldn’t make sense, usually it was around the 18fps mark. For the non-skate scenes I could go down to 12fps or even 8 depending on the shot.

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Bending bollards

I’d draw/cut/dye the pages and then crumple them and scan them and eventually import them as animations

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Lightbox drawing

After that I colour correct the frames and then print. I used different paper stocks depending on the scene. I noticed it didn’t look like paper unless I crumpled the sheets a little, but I couldn’t do it too much or the scene would wobble. So I’d draw/cut/dye the pages and then crumple them and scan them and eventually import them as animations.

Philip Evans - Paper Cut London - Scene piles

Most of the technical complications were eliminated by testing at the start. I realised pretty early that scanning looked better than photographing the paper so once that was set it was full slow steam ahead.

I think my friend Gibbo needs a lot of credit for his music, its always spot on so I’m lucky I get to use it.  Also Jak skated so well he made it look easy and he was also a very willing subject and let me do my thing, that made the whole project way easier.