Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Baltimore Orioles Rally Animation (a.k.a. My Dream Job)

This is something that's actually been in the works since March of last year. As anyone who knows me can tell you, two of my great loves are the Baltimore Orioles and stop motion animation.

When my friend Chris told me that he and some cohorts had written a new rally song for the Orioles and would I like to do an animated music video for it, I jumped at the chance! Pretty soon after they released the song to the internet in 2009, the Orioles organization actually contacted them and began playing the song before games!

I debated bringing in experienced sculptors and fabricators for this job, but I ended up deciding to make the puppet on my own. First, it would be a lot cheaper and this project started out completely on spec. Second, this would be my chance to build a foam and latex puppet from sculpt to mold to armature to foam casting to painting to flocking. I did have a lot of help and guidance throughout by the amazing people listed at the end of this post.

Here are some photos from the sculpting process:
Johnny Sumner dove into this project with gusto. Even though he'd never been to Oriole Park, he made an approximately 8'x4' cardboard model of the outfield and cityscape visible behind Camden Yards:
Halfway through the Orioles project, I was called down to Brazil to help animate the feature film, Worms. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring down the entire Oriole Park set that Johnny had designed, but I was able to bring the puppet and shoot some blue screen footage:
As of this writing, I've completed five spots, three of which are currently showing as rally animation on the massive HD JumboTron at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Apparently, these spots have gotten a great reception from fans at the park and I'd love to do some more animation incorporating Johnny's incredible set and Chris's song.

On April 9th, 2010, 48,891 people saw my Orioles stop motion for the first time! It will be played at home games throughout the season.

Unfortunately, I can't share the video of the spots on this blog, but I will give you some screen shots to whet your appettite.

The Bird dressed as 80's SuperFan, Wild Bill Hagy:

Head out to Oriole Park at Camden Yards to see the full animations on the big screen!

This was a project initially done on spec before Orioles Productions came on board. It really wouldn't have been possible without the following people spanning Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Brazil.

Director: Pete Levin
Producers: Mike Stashik and Pete Levin
Art Director: John Sumner
Animator: Pete Levin
Puppet Fabricator: Pete Levin
Sets: John Sumner and Pete Levin
Costumes: Mychaela Harding and Alex Bustamante
Puppet eyelids: Roberto Custodio
Lighting: Klaus Zanella Schlickmann and Raquel Bittencourt
Renaissance Man: Policarpo Graciano
Post Production: Bryan Krandle and Ben Epstein
Moonwalking AfterEffects Help: Rosana Sallum
Assistants: Marina Scherer, Camila Kauling Rumpf, Stella Bloss, Carol Gesser

Special thanks:
Chris Myers for writing the inspiring Orioles rally song and putting me in contact with the Orioles
Brent Johnson for giving me the confidence to sculpt the puppet and make the mold myself
Frank Ippolito for help and advice with the casting
Rob Ronning for puppet fabrication advice
Greg Sesma for help and advice with armature building
Charlie Chiodo for painting and flocking advice
Paolo Conti and the staff of Animaking Studios for going out of their way to help me
Marina Machado for keeping me focused and fighting off procrastination
Steve Murphy for dancing like a mascot

Also, check it out - I'm apparently a doctor!


  1. Thats so cool man!!

    what a cool oppotunity and job you did.


  2. I had no idea this was you. That's so exciting! Great work!