Lily Martin-Babin

Miro Wine

Bachelor of Design 3D animation Character Animation Stop Motion Animation Video Moving Image Stylised Narrative
AD20 Award
Head of School Award
For outstanding academic performance in Digital Design 

‘Miro Wine’ is a reference to the fact that the kererū is known to eat the fermented berries of the Miro tree and subsequently become intoxicated.

Miro Wine was born from our love of New Zealand and stop-motion animation. In a world that is quickly being taken over by international media and high-realism CGI, Bree and I wanted to create something that goes back to our roots as kiwis and animators. Although mimicking the style of stop-motion animation, Miro Wine is fully digital which allowed us to streamline the process of animation while introducing the imperfections that come with a traditional stop-motion film.

This project was created by myself and Bree Greally.

Our focus for Miro Wine was to capture audiences with both aesthetics and narrative. Through our research of stop-motion animation, we learnt of the humanising qualities made by the natural flaws that arise from the creation process. Artifacts such as fingerprints in clay, faults in animation, and asymmetry create this kind of inherent empathetic quality in the characters. It is clear in a stop-motion animation that love and care has been put into every movement and there’s a materiality to the characters that can almost be felt through the screen.

Despite all the benefits, stop-motion animation can be risky to produce and is incredibly time and resource intensive. Puppets can break and if the animator makes a mistake, entire sequences may have to be re-filmed. CG animation is significantly more flexible and allows for the limitless experimenting and re-working of shots. Another benefit was the ability to create iterations of various lighting setups and environments with efficiency; we could change the aesthetics of the film right up until we rendered.

COVID-19 put a damper on several elements of this production. Working within a team proved to be exceedingly difficult when both parties were on opposite ends of the country. Despite this, lockdown allowed us to focus on more achievable goals for our project and get to the core of what we were trying to convey. Ultimately, Miro Wine benefited from the struggle and came out the other side as a more polished and engaging film.

Miro Wine as a narrative is ultimately about compassion. Arrogance is the enemy of friendship and the more you put your walls up, the more normal it will feel. Taking people and relationships for granted means you’ll end up like our kererū, you won’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Unfortunately, not everyone has a persistent fantail friend to break down those walls!