Stop Motion Video Introduces The Vocabulary Of Typography

When looking at the Letterpress video which I wrote about last month, I stumbled on another lovely instructional short on letterpress on Vimeo. Type High is an introduction to the principles of typography through letterpress. Produced in stop-motion animation, it explains the grammar of typography in the RISD letterpress shop. The video was made by Lynn Kiang. This multi-disciplinary designer living in New York City received her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she completed her thesis research in video graphic design.


Type High from Lynn Kiang on Vimeo.

Lynn Kiang:

Type High was created in collaboration with designers Sara Raffo and Gregory Geiger in 2009, to serve as a typography primer for novice students and for classroom instruction. It was a self-initiated project under the guidance of Raphael Attias in his class, Interactive Text, Sound and Image, at RISD. Type High was part of a larger toolkit that allowed students to interact with type anatomy, composition and type in the real world.

Type High was my first stop-motion animation and was created in one afternoon in the RISD type shop in Providence, RI. We wanted to introduce viewers to the analog origins of type and transform an otherwise dry topic into an engaging viewing experience through the playfulness of stop-motion.


Lynn Kiang (left) and Sara Raffo composing shots in the RISD letterpress shop for the stop motion video Type High. Photo by Gregory Geiger

Since it was more efficient to disassemble a chase rather than construct it while shooting, we worked backwards in sequence from final press to the job case. This also meant that every movement that you see was made in reverse, then edited later in the right order. We borrowed a light kit and tripod, used a Nikon D40 camera and duck-taped it all in place. In post-production, I thought Prologue from West Side Story was a perfect fit to narrate the rumble and tumble of the type. The photos were choreographed to the music and composited with captions in Adobe After Effects. Looking back, I think half the charm of the piece was in the imperfections of our low-fi production. We raced the sun throughout shooting, photographed with manual zoom and shot without a remote shutter release. I’ve shown the video to my own type students and it’s been a fantastic introduction to a complex subject.

The typeface used for the captions throughout the video is National by Kris Sowersby.

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1 Comment:

  1. As a former graphics instructor 30 years ago, this brought back great memories.
    As well as a sense of wonder on how we ever got anything printed.

    Thanks for the creative jump back to a simpler time. ( thank goodness we have THAT behind us!)

    -S

    Posted by Steve Dowdell on Aug. 16, 2011

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