Aardman Animations has released its first-ever short film delivered completely in 4K. ‘Hiccups’, the latest in the series of 15 brand new Morph episodes, will went live on the Morph YouTube channel today. (10th October 2014)
Staying true to the original format, the new episodes are shot using clay and traditional stop-frame animation at Morph’s original home at the Aardman studios in Bristol. The new 4K one minute film, is the eighth episode in the series and shows Morph ‘morphing’ into a range of different guises each time he hiccups.
The Aardman team used a Canon 1d Mk3 camera to shoot the new Morph episodes at a resolution of just over 4K. The film was composited in Nuke and graded in Davinci Resolve. Generally, the episodes are converted to HD for broadcast distribution, but since YouTube has allowed 4K film to be broadcast on the channel, the pure 4K version of the animation was released.
Director of the Morph episodes at Aardman, Merlin Crossingham said: “Aardman is always at the forefront of using new technology, we were the first company to produce HD-ready content for the BBC HD channel with ‘Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels’. Not everyone has access to 4K devices, but whether you have or not, you will still be able to enjoy the latest episode of Morph in the clearest, and best quality available.”
Merlin recently appeared on Channel 5’s The Gadget Show as part of a feature which used the 4K Morph episode to test new 4K televisions. “Obviously a better quality picture shows up every single animator’s thumb print or imperfection on the clay, but we think that is part of Morph’s charm.”
Morph made his TV debut in 1977 on in the children’s BBC art programme Take Hart. Almost 40 years later in October 2013, Aardman co-founder and Morph’s creator Peter Lord launched a campaign on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to bring back Morph for a new series of adventures. The £75,000 target was reached in just 8 days and by the end of the campaign 2654 backers from around the world had pledged over £100K, raising enough money for 15 new episodes. The first of the new episodes premiered on Morph’s YouTube channel on Friday 4th July 2014 with the rest of the episodes following throughout 2014.