Brickfilm – the art of bringing plastic building blocks to life, for the purpose of video entertainment. The Brickfilm scene is huge online, having started way back in the mid-80s when actual film was required. These days brickfilmers benefit from advancements in digital SLRs, stop-motion techniques and the endless range of LEGO on offer.
If you’ve not encountered much in the way of stop-motion animation and plastic building blocks, be prepared for a pleasant surprise. The production values, time, effort and scale of some productions is mind-boggling. Some people even go as far as recreating some of their favorite movie scenes from building blocks, but today we’ll focus on experts themselves – the “brickfilmmakers”.
Alex Kobbs, also known as Kooberz, is one particularly talented LEGO filmmaker. Not only has he accumulated more than 30,000 LEGO-obsessed followers but he’s remarkably fast on the draw. Just take a look at the rather special LEGO PS4 below.
For balance (and clicks) he’s also done LEGO versions of the Xbox One and the Wii U too. Alex’s main work is a little more far-fetched though, as he takes popular movie and game franchises like Gears of War, and recreates the action with LEGO.
But that’s not all, because if like me you’re amazed by the detail, skill and overall polish you can watch the making of and find out how to create your own epic LEGO re-enactments.
As if that wasn’t enough, Alex is also in the business of tutorials. LEGO tutorials. For items that have never been officially released, like the Tardis below.
David Pagano is the artist behind Paganomation (just in case you thought this would get all Wicker Man for a second there). He’s a rather talented stop-motion animator who produces shorts like this:
Another example of David’s skill is the short film and model tie-in, Little Guys (below). “How long did it take you to make this?” asked one YouTuber – “8 months” replied David.
Head over to David’s website to purchase a copy of the short and your very own Little Guys miniature. Or, hit up his YouTube channel for more of the following.
Fusing sharp visuals, smooth animation and hilarious, nerdy humour it’s ForrestFire Films. As YouTuber Forrest says, “I’m Forrest and I make videos using Legos and my friends. The Legos are nicer to me.” – I can see what he means.
Forrest is lucky to have mastered the art of being funny, the art of stopmotion and the art of making your films look beautiful. There’s something about the way the colours pop which makes even these plastic figures come to life.
The sheer attention to detail Forrest applies cannot be denied – just look at the damage to the models in the video below.
thefourmonkeys are a talented duo with a penchant for creating short brickfilms. The resulting production quality is rather high, with some of the smoothest stop-motion focus pulling I’ve seen.
In addition to a lot of older remastered videos, they have a rather extensive FAQ on their website which answers some of the obvious questions like what equipment they use (and used to use) as well as how they ended up with such smooth animation.
They also have a few ongoing “brickseries” including their fan-hit Galactic Smugglers, which has since been remastered and re-uploaded since its original run. I’ve embedded the full playlist below for nostalgia’s sake.
A self-proclaimed “weird Scottish guy that makes animations”, Thomas makes LEGO shorts like the one below.
The style of animation here is more subdued than some of the other action-heavy sequences above, but videos like this next one caught my eye. This is last year’s Slender game from Parsec Productions, re-created in LEGO, for laughs:
Also of note is the following riff on the game Snake, which is sure to make anyone who had an old Nokia “brick” chortle (yes, you can have that pun for free).
What better way to end than with a few videos from the sublime Custard Productions, starting with the funniest brickfilm I’ve seen in a long time (and possibly the funniest I’ve seen full stop):
Custard Productions currently has more than 130,000 subscribers, and that’s because the films are nothing short of excellent. The wit is sharp, the animation is silky and (I imagine) the time involved in making these is enormous.
While I could just keep embedding videos, you’ll probably do better to subscribe to this and any of the channels featured for more updates.
Find More At The Brickfilmer’s Guild
It would be an injustice not to point you in the direction of more talented LEGO filmmakers when there are so many out there. One of the best places to find films is the Brickfilmer’s Guild, which brings together the latest releases and the best production teams.
Visit: The Brickfilmer’s Guild
Do you enjoy brickfilms? Interested in making your own? Maybe you already have? Add your thoughts, questions and favourite films in the comments, below.
Image credit: Avengers Lego (Andrew Becraft)