Yelldesign

Paper trail.

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Yelldesign is part film factory and part craft corner.

The studio, which counts the likes of Microsoft, Twitter, Visa, Volkswagen, and Perrier among its clients, specializes in creating short stop-motion videos for the internet. That means ads and promotional pieces designed specifically for Vine, or Instagram, or YouTube—with all aspects done in-house.

“We do everything,” says founder Matt Willis, speaking over the phone from Melbourne, where the studio is based. “Concepting, idea development, building, construction, shooting, and post-production—all of it.” He mentions building and construction, and they are important points, because many of Yelldesign’s videos are created with props made of paper. As if the task of making stop-motion wasn’t already meticulous enough. “It takes about one hour per second of footage to shoot,” Willis explains. “And then there’s the pre-production—building all the sets—and post-production. So it can be a fairly long process.” His small team of nine works somewhere between workshop and dreamland, creating little clips that are colourful, playful, and sweet.

This is epitomized in the studio’s Papermeal series: a collection of videos that display busy hands making paper meatballs, ramen, and banana splits. “There are lots of designers making paper food and it looks great, but it’s always still, and we wanted to make a whole video,” Willis says. “It’s really content for the internet, and the internet generally likes things that are a little bit unusual.” The videos are unusual in a comforting and approachable way, though, and smiles can’t help but creep onto faces as a paper USB stick squirts paper ketchup onto paper French fries.

Conceivably the most endearing thing about Papermeal is that it wasn’t created for a client—the Yelldesign crew did it for themselves. “We wanted the opportunity to do our own creation,” says Willis, who calls it an “informal studio project.” It may have been done for fun, merely an exercise in creativity, but those who watch it will be filled with a sense of unadulterated whimsy. And perhaps a creeping craving for penne and meatballs.


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August 24, 2016