This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
A Brickfilm is a film made using Lego bricks, or other similar plastic construction toys. They are usually created with stop motion animation though computer-generated imagery (CGI), traditional animation, and live action films featuring plastic construction toys (or representations of them) are also usually considered brickfilms. The term 'brick film' was coined by Jason Rowoldt, founder of Brickfilms.com.
1970s and 1980s - early brickfilms
The first known brickfilm, En rejse til månen (Danish for Journey to the Moon), was created in 1973 by Lars C. Hassing and Henrik Hassing. The six-minute video featured both stop motion animation and live action, and was recorded on Super 8 film. The film was later shown to Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, who had a personal copy made, though the film was not released to the public until May 2013, when the creator uploaded it to YouTube.
The third known brickfilm was made between 1985 and 1989 in Perth, Western Australia by Lindsay Fleay, named The Magic Portal, a film shot on a bolex 19mm camera. It was captured on 16 mm film and features animated LEGO, plasticine, and cardboard characters and objects, mixing both stop motion animation and live action footage, with Fleay making an live action appearance.[unreliable source?] Portal had high production values for a brickfilm, with a five-figure budget granted by the Australian Film Commission. However, due to legal issues with The LEGO Group, it did not see a wide release, though later, The LEGO Group would eventually back down on these charges.
The first brickfilm to be widely released was a music video for the UK dance act Ethereal for their song Zap on Truelove Records. Produced and released in 1989, the film was shown across the MTV network and other music channels and was the first time a brick film has been released across public channels. The film again attracted the attention of The Lego Group's legal department. The film was directed by filmmaker David Betteridge  with animation direction handled by Phil Burgess  and Art Direction by Daniel Betteridge. The story was an interpretation of scenes from Apocalypse Now adapted to the rave culture of the late eighties, following three heroic Lego men as they battle and overcome evil. The film's budget was £3000 enabling the filmmakers to shoot on 35mm film using a hand-cranked camera build in 1903 and modified with an animation motor. Originally scheduled to take two weekends, the film took three and a half months to complete. Promo magazine at the time declared it one of the best music videos ever made. It is available on YouTube 
More early brickfilms were produced in the Lego Sport Champions series, officially commissioned by The LEGO Group in 1987. During this time, Dave Lennie and Andrew Boyer started making "Legomation" using a VHS camera and professional video equipment.
In the late 1990s, the age of film and video brickfilms ended as digital cameras became more and more commonplace. Also, the Internet allowed brickfilmers to produce and distribute their work more easily. The founding of Brickfilms.com in 2000 brought together the brickfilming community. The sites did not directly host the films, but rather linked to pages where they could be downloaded or streamed.
Simultaneously, The LEGO Group officially encouraged the creation of brickfilms with the release of Lego Studios. Since then, brickfilms have been used to help The LEGO Group advertise new themes and sets.
These actions both significantly increased brickfilming's popularity through to the mid 2000s.
2000s and 2010s
Throughout the 2000s, brickfilms increased in sophistication and garnered some occasional media attention. Higher-end films would often feature digital effects, created frame-by-frame with image editors or inserted via video compositing software.
The Deluxe Edition DVD of Monty Python and the Holy Grail contained an extra in the form of a brickfilm of the "Camelot Song", produced by Spite Your Face Productions. Since then, several brickfilms have been placed on DVDs along with the films which they emulate, such when Lego Star Wars: Revenge of the Brick was featured on the second DVD volume of Star Wars: Clone Wars TV series.
Brickfilms have also been released commercially on their own, such as Jericho: The Promise Fulfilled, a 30-minute-long film made by Shatter Point Entertainment, and Wars Of Humanity episode I and II. The film was awarded Best Animation by the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival 2009. In 2007, the brickfilm Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World was accepted to over 80 film festivals, including Sundance.
In 2008, the Brickfilms.com administrator, Schlaeps, started developing another brickfilming site which would later become bricksinmotion.com. As he was doing this using Brickfilms.com servers, Schlaeps was demoted from the site.
In 2014, The Lego Movie was released. It used computer generated graphics to make the whole movie look like a brickfilm.
Today almost all brickfilming is performed with digital cameras and webcams, which makes the art more accessible to everyone.
Modern brickfilms are captured with digital still cameras (sometimes in the form of webcams, DSLRs or camcorders with still image capability). The standard framerate for a quality film is 15 FPS, as a compromise between minimum production time and smoothest motion. There is also a standard 4-frame minifigure walk cycle for this framerate. A skilled brickfilmer can use only 12 FPS to good effect, but lower framerates are considered amateurish.
Before the film is edited, the images themselves may be altered to create special effects frame-by-frame. Editing can be accomplished with almost any digital video program. However, most seasoned brickfilmers prefer to use dedicated stop motion software, such as the free MonkeyJam and Helium Frog Animator, or paid software such as Dragon Frame Stop Motion. Afterwards, compositing software such as Adobe After Effects can be used to add visual effects and a video editor can be used to tie together the stop motion clips and also for adding the soundtrack.
Brickfilming festivals and communities
Some film festivals are dedicated entirely to brickfilms. The brickfilming hobby has led to several online communities, including BricksInMotion.com and Brickfilms.com, some of which have been covered in mainstream media outlets.
There have been many unsuccessful attempts at making documentaries about brickfilming. However, as of December 2014, "Bricks in Motion: The Documentary" was in the works and slated for release in late 2016. Bricks in Motion site administrator, Philip Heinrich, and his production company, Smeagol Studios, are currently working on the documentary.
- "The Tyee – The Rise of the Lego Video". Thetyee.ca. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Animation : 954". News.lugnet.com. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "En rejse til månen (Journey to the Moon)". YouTube. 1973-05-16. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Oldest Brickfilm?". BrickFilms. 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "VERY 1st Lego Wars LEGO MOVIE from 1980 FILM Star wars". YouTube. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "The Magic Portal". Rakrent.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "LEGOsports". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Lego Sports Champions(1987)". BrickFilms. Archived from the original on 2013-08-22. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Olympic LEGO Animations: Then and Now". Brickanimation.com. 2012-08-16. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Lego Sport Champions". Filmwest.com. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
- "Lego Ads". YouTube. 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Lego & Steven Spielberg MovieMaker Set - PC World Business". Pcworld.idg.com.au. 2001-02-10. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "In This Film Industry It Really Helps To Be a Blockhead - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Masking and bowling". YouTube. 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Monty Python LEGO | Free Video Clips". SPIKE. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Star Wars - Clone Wars, Vol. 2 : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- New offering from Lego for auteurs of bricks New Strait Times, Jan. 18, 2001
- "Brickfilms Chronicle - Loneverse". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Brick Films". Ampsvideo.com. Archived from the original on 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Frames Per Second". BrickFilms. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Minifig Walking Tutorial". Thehowlingfantods.com. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
- "Brickfilms - a Lego film festival, tomorrow in Sweden!". Boing Boing. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "In This Film Industry It Really Helps To Be a Blockhead - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Category:Brickfilms.|