Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen is one of the most influential men when it comes to creating stop motion animation. In his childhood he watched king kong (1933) made by William H. O’brien. This led him to go home and research the method also, creating his own short films. Harryhausen landed his first job creating Palls Puppetoon shorts for Paramount studios. In 1949 he started working for his inspiration William O’Brien to make the film Mighty Joe Young.ray-harryhausen


However, his most influential piece was in 1953 was one of the most influential stop motion animation film. The Beast from 20,000 fathoms involved a technique called split screen, which overlapped to videos. Harryhausen inserted clips of stop motion dinosaurs over real life footage. This merged stop motion animation with real life action. The first scene of the overlapping shots the dinosaur appearing from the water and people running off. The videos do not really interact together however clearly tells the story of what’s going on.

This technique was refined and exhibited throughout his work including the film Jason and the Argonauts 1963. This combines stop motion skeletons about to go into war, being commanded by a real person. The two different shots overlapping each other is edited seamlessly and looks as though the man is on the same set of skeletons. Compared to when this technique was first pioneered in Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, it has been improved to be cut seamlessly. Jason and the Argonauts the men and skeletons are amongst each other compared to Beast from 20000 Fathoms in which it has stop motion footage on one side and the stop motion on the other so they do not interact.

from then awards he has inspired directors and producers such as tim burton. Burton dedicated his film Mars attack to Ray Harryhausen as he was so inspired by his work.


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