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Oscar-nominated stop-motion director premieres new film shot with Nikon D810 DSLR

The Nikon D810 is an excellent DSLR for photograph and videography – we recognized it with our Editors’ Choice award for its stellar performance. But here’s something else it’s good for: stop-motion animation. Adam Pesapane, a director who goes by the name PES, premiered his film Submarine Sandwich on December 10, which was shot entirely with the D810.

Submarine Sandwich is the third stop-motion film PES made, following Western Spaghetti and Fresh Guacamole – the latter earning him an Oscar nomination (which made history as being the shortest film ever nominated). All three films revolve around food, but in a cheeky nature. The new film is about the namesake sandwich, but the components are made out of non-food items (watch the film, there’s no good way to explain it).

“I’ve always loved taking something mundane and transforming it into the unexpected through the animation process,” he says.

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Explaining why he uses a DSLR to shoot his stop-motion films, PES says, “The Nikon D810 gives us unprecedented image quality and interfaces perfectly with the stop-motion software I use, Dragonframe. The camera is amazing, period. Images are razor sharp and allow me virtually unlimited flexibility resizing in the editing process without quality loss. On the back end, I can print high-quality fine art prints from the stills of my film.” He also likes having a Live View image on the LCD.

Nikon was the lead sponsor, providing the director with the D810 and AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens. Despite the sponsorship, PES still needed to raise the funds for other materials, such as the slicer, footballs, and the boxing gloves seen in the film, as well as the lighting needed. Throughout the successful Kickstarter campaign, PES asked supporters for input about what he should do or use.

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“My films may be short, but they’re not cheap,” PES says. “Even though they’re animated, my films share more in common with live-action productions. I need sets, props, fabrication, cameras, lights, space – everything that live-action productions need – except that I need them for months at a time.” Getting equipment from Nikon certainly helped keep the budget down.

Read more about the project – using the camera, how the film was shot, tips and tricks, and what went on behind the scenes – at Nikon’s website.