Film School: Static Elements in Motion

Kevin McGloughlin | Max Cooper - Waves Kevin McGloughlin | Max Cooper - Waves

Build a moving visual language, using still objects.


Slide showPitchfork’s Liner Notes series breathes further life into its static visual elements (still photographs, hand-drawn graphics, film clutter) and sells it with clever sound design (voice over, audio samples of a slide projector).


NestingRöyksopp’s ‘Eple’ features only (gorgeous) still photographs, and uses only scale and position (with a little nesting) to dizzying effect.

Foreground & Backgroundkaptainkristian pulls together an eclectic range of visual elements – ink drawings, paintings, photographs, press clippings, vector graphics and more – and he uses these elements to transition between eachother, introducing and elaborating on ideas along the way:


TypographyAhoy sidesteps the computer altogether to edit together this research video, instead printing out stills (perhaps onto paper, possibly onto transparent acetate?), which he then slides in and out of frame by hand. These slides could even have been a detailed storyboard, which feature strong typography and design aesthetics. Together with well-scripted voiceover narration, ‘The First Video Game’ maintains visual interest throughout its one-hour runtime:

Abstract symbols – the more complex the ideas, the simpler the symbols used to represent them. Mental health, medication and research individually are never complete or fixed, and together intersect in ever-shifting ways, as elegantly conveyed in this abstract animation on bipolar disorder by Uncle Ginger for TedEd:

Reframing – Nerdwriter‘s video essay on Art Speigelman’s Maus focuses on just one page of the iconic graphic novel, using colour and line to emphasise words and panel details, and interpolating other sources into the comic page’s existing framework:

All of the AboveEstelle Caswell’s exploration of J Dilla’s music production process is 2D yet literally never static (more on the motion design of Vox here):

Real-time Visual Processing

Mediation & Complication – why not bring the viewer on the journey with you? In Max Cooper – Waves (Official Video), Kevin McGloughlin introduces a simple enough visual, then explores its geometric and harmonic possibilities through meticulous nesting and repetition:

If you master the language, your ideas won’t be limited to plugins and tutorials.

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