‘Share A Story’ Picks Up Its Fourth BAFTA and Fades Out…

By | Awards, BAFTA, Broadcast, CITV, Modelmaking, Nominations, Puppetry, Share A Story, stop-motion | No Comments

Nine Years And Four BAFTAs Later, Is It Really Farewell…?

This month ‘Share A Story’ picked up its fourth Children’s BAFTA in the Short Form Category, and who knows, such is its appeal, it may be in the running again next year for a fifth. Let’s hope so. It’s been such a privilege to be involved with this competition over the last decade and those 6 individual years we contributed. We’re incredibly proud to say that in each of the four years it won a mask, one of our short films formed part of the group. (Kudos must surely go to CharacterShop for having been the only studio to have produced a film every year it ran). The competition is testament to the enduring brainchild of Corrinne Averiss who originally created the competition as part of World Book Day to engage young readers.

Children’s author and Share A Story creator; Corrinne Averiss

‘Share A Story’ has been a feature of the CiTV schedule which has survived more dominating circumstances, such as broadcaster cut-backs and two rounds of redundancies within the producing team. Within the last decade, it’s been an annual opportunity to collaborate with old studio friends Carl Hadley, Dave Hickman and Wal Werbel. Wal was co-Director on My Motorbike which also picked up an Royal Television Society award for Best Production Craft Skills in 2012. This story was perhaps the most logistically challenging, involving some hacked model movers and motion control trickery to realise a stop-motion ‘helicopter’ shot around a mountain set (below).


The one other opportunity it provided (and which will now be sorely missed) was creating placement opportunities for some fantastically talented graduates (we received hundreds of requests a year). The eager hands who joined us every autumn formed an integral part of the crew for each project. Without them the scope of our ideas for each film would not have been possible.

Mad Scientists and Bum-Biting Crocodiles…

Of the stories we got to make, we’ve seen a mad-scientist teacher, a ‘zero’ who wants to be a donut, motorcycle stunts on mountains, a bum-biting crocodile, a shark who likes pickled onion crisps, and a cosmic contest between heavenly bodies. It was a real creative highlight in the calendar when we’d get to sit down and read through the brilliantly entertaining ideas before they were whittled down from the many thousands of entries to the handful which were ultimately produced. Every story gave us the opportunity to let fly with our imaginations and try out new stuff. So, in no discernible order, thanks to all the young scribes who entrusted their stories to us: ‘Brainfood’ by Jack Land, Oh, No! Where’s Zero? by Alfie de Brito, My Motorbike by Alex Holt, The Crocodile Trap by Leah Faulks, A Shark Who Swallowed The Sea by Heidi Hogarth, The Race In The Sky by Jenotha Seenivasan. This year’s BAFTA is for a body of work shared with Kilogramme, Charactershop and Jardine Sage. Also on the studio crew were our two tireless assistants, Chris Mair and Nina Noon.

Pictured: Chris Randall and Ian Whittle.

Third RTS Win for Production Craft Skills

By | Animation, Awards, Broadcast, RTS, sony, Visual Effects | No Comments

This November we picked up the Royal Television Society Award for ‘Best Production Craft Skills’. The award was given for Animation and Visual Effects for a clutch of projects produced for Sony Pictures Television earlier in 2017. The body of work included seasonal idents for the Moviemix channel, and a 6-day time lapse using motion control. We’re proud to say that it’s the third time the studio has won this category. It was a pleasure to receive the award from The Gadget Show’s own John Bentley. Thanks RTS! 

‘The Race In The Sky’ Selected for Manchester Animation Festival

By | Awards, Broadcast, CITV, Compositing, Festivals, Share A Story, stop-motion | No Comments

The Manchester Animation Festival has selected ‘The Race In The Sky’ to screen as part of their Commissioned Films category this autumn. We completed the film in September 2016, as our sixth animation for CiTV’s Share A Story competition for young viewers, written and read by 11-year-old Jenotha Seenivasan. The story is a cosmic tale of how the sun and moon had a race to decide who ‘owns’ the sky. The models used in the film were crafted from recycled materials and given a bit of magic using ‘light writing’, long exposures created with torchlight and bare light bulbs. Special thanks go to Nina Noon, Andrea Haenze, Chris Mair and Leah Hadley for getting stuck in with us during the production. The film will be screening on Tue November 14th at 12;10 and Wed 15th at 15:40.

Double RTS Nomination for Sony Projects

By | Awards, Motion Control, Nominations, RTS, sony, stop-motion, Visual Effects | No Comments

We’re proud to announce that we’ve received two nominations in this year’s Royal Television Society Midlands Awards. Our broadcast promotion for ‘Women That Kill,’ a documentary special on Sony’s True Crime channel was picked for the Best Promotional Programme category whilst the studio’s recent Animation and Visual Effects work was nominated for Best Production Craft Skills. This body of work includes two other projects for Sony; the stop-motion Christmas ident for the Moviemix channel from 2016 and a Valentine’s stunt for ‘Till Death Do, Us Part,’ involving a 6-day time lapse and one continuous camera move.

(L-R) The Moviemix channel ident, ‘Till Death Do, Us Part’ time-lapse and ‘Women That Kill’ promotional films.

All three projects feature use of the studio’s own Manta Motion Control Rig, which recently won the studio a place in the ‘Innovation 50’ list of most forward-thinking companies in the region. This is the fourth time Second Home has been nominated for the RTS awards and we’re no less proud to be recognised by the society once again!

Studio Showcased As Part of ‘Innovation 50’ List of Companies

By | Awards, Behind The Scenes, Broadcast, Innovation, Motion Control, Nominations, Press, Promotions, sony, stop-motion | No Comments

The Report

The Innovation 50 report – showcasing the fifty most innovative businesses across the region – has launched this week. Led by legal firm, Mills & Reeve, the report sought to create ‘an in depth index of some of the Midlands’ most forward thinking companies.’ We’re delighted to announce that Second Home Studios has been included in the list for our recent development of an essential new piece of equipment: the Manta Motion Control system. As a practical studio ever keen to innovate our stop-motion animation work, the rig adds a new dimension to what we do. It was developed in conjunction with the brilliant Richard Sykes, and was designed to facilitate both animation and live action client briefs. The rig provides multi-axis camera control allowing for incremental stepping whilst animating. When the animation is played back, this creates the illusion of a camera move in real time. The rig is also set up for time-lapse photography, or filming of live-action elements. The rig is controlled using CNC controllers which dovetail seamlessly with industry standard animation software.


The studio is well versed in motion-control (or ‘MoCo’) application. In our 12 year history, we’ve used MoCo on several projects, often having to hack mechanical movers to get the desired control of motion for either the camera or miniature models being filmed. The Manta rig gives us a wealth of new control for all manner of animation projects. The judging criteria looked at what each business was trying to improve and gauge the measured results of this improvement. For us, this came in the form of three commissions from Sony Pictures Television.

Highly Commended…

The expert panel who compiled the list recognized this step-up in motion-control as worthy of mention as part of the report. The inclusion was also badged up as being ‘Highly Commended’ for being a particularly noteworthy submission. The report featured some truly inventive companies from all sectors; our personal favourites being the environmentally beneficial Aquapak Polymers, smart building inventors, Vanti and Borroclub for its sustainable consumer model of borrowing rather than buying. We’re really proud to be given consideration alongside these other people. Here’s a snapshot of the feature in the report:



International Win for ‘Tweedy & Fluff’

By | Awards, Festivals, International, stop-motion, Tweedy & Fluff | No Comments

Second Home Studios and Stitchy Feet win Grand Prize at Seoul Promotion Plan Conference 2017.

This summer we went long haul to the Seoul Promotion Plan conference in South Korea to pitch our series-in-development, Tweedy & Fluff. This is a pre-school stop-motion animation, created by children’s author Corrinne Averiss, with Cbeebies as its primary broadcast sponsor. The project was invited as a list minute finalist into the international pitching rounds and was unique both in that it was the only project from the UK and also the only stop-motion offering on the schedule. Chris Randall represented this co-production between Second Home Studios and Stitchy Feet, which is ostensibly about a child and their first pet.

The Winning Pitch

The 10 minute pitch involved a storybook-style start followed by a lighthearted tour of the characters’ world. There was also a reasoning for why, in such a busy world, a show which instils nurturing qualities is important for young viewers. There also featured some bespoke animation featuring the two main characters especially produced for the Korean hosts, which made a funny and fitting end to the presentation. The awards were announced on Thursday 6th June and Tweedy & Fluff was announced as the Grand Prize Winner. As well as a trophy, the show also received $15,000 USD which will go a long way towards further developing the project as it moves closer towards closing the necessary finance and a green light for production.


Rounding Off 2016 With More RTS Nominations. Thanks To All Our Collaborators…

By | Awards, BAFTA, Broadcast, CITV, Design, Modelmaking, Nominations, RTS | No Comments

After delivering a bunch of exciting new work during 2016, we finished the year with three more award nominations. Our contribution for CITV’s ‘Share A Story’, a tale about A Shark Who Swallowed The Sea, written by Heidi Hogarth was among the nominated films in the Children’s BAFTA Short Form Category. The same film was also nominated twice in the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards, for Best Production Craft Skills and Best Fictional Television Programme. This project is our fifth project involving traditional puppetry. You can find more like this here. Huge thanks go out to all who worked with us on this project.

The Engineering Machine picks up multiple awards

By | Awards, Bechtel, Design, stop-motion | No Comments

Our recent film produced for Bechtel, The Engineering Machine, produced with picked up a Construction Media Award for Best Social Media campaign. This represents the third industry plaudit for an ambitious collaboration between us, Andi Jepson and co at Iceni and the brilliantly energetic students at Birmingham City University. EVCOM are champions of the power and value of communication, so the award feels apt especially for all those undergraduates from the Visual Communication pathway who were such a pleasure to work with.

Second RTS Win For An Epic Collaboration

By | Awards, Design, RTS, stop-motion | No Comments

Earlier in 2015 we embarked on an ambitious animation project together with the creative gang at and the incredible undergraduate crew on Birmingham City University’s Visual Communication (Film and Animation) course. This collaboration was recognised this month at the Royal Television Society awards in the Best Production Skills category. The ‘Rube Goldberg’ machine was designed and built at Second Home Studios then transported an re-assembled at BCU’s Parkside studio where a team animated the machine building itself in stop-motion prior to all the kinetic trigger points being filmed live.

This award is real testament to the dedication of the student crew who sweated buckets with the rest of us to help build, manhandle and artfully destroy it!


Here they are again:

A Second Home Studios and production

Produced in collaboration with Bechtel and Birmingham City University (UK)
Thanks to: Carillion // Crossrail // Edmundson Electrical // Hilti // Network Rail

Producer for Bechtel: Leanne Bell
Designed by Chris Randall

Assistant Designers: Frances Rice // David Checkley
Modelmakers: Yossel Simpson Little // Sarah Crombie // Dan Hayward
Assistant Modelmakers: Jonathan Kiefert // Kieron Reilly
Lead Animator: Ian Whittle
Motion Control: Matt Cusworth // Arron Sheekey
Motion Graphics Supervisor: Fraser Ntukula
Compositing: Gareth Langford // Gareth Flavell
Sound: Craig Barlow
Edit / Colourist: Alison Huckett

Huge thanks to students from Birmingham City University (UK) Visual Communication School

Clara Chou // Daniel Coetsee // Luke Frangeskou // Andrea Haenze // Hayley Harrison // Al Hassan // Jack Mugglestone // Nina Parker Noon // Dilek Osman // Waheeda Rahman // Jan Rospond // Sam Holyhead // Mikolaj Kacprzac // Kent Lau
Chris Mair // Borislava Marangozova // Natalie Sergeant // Adam Scotford // Jake Wesley-Worrall // Kieran Wilson
Grace Zhang

Thanks to: Steven Chamberlain // Matt Cusworth // Lee Metcalfe Chase // Arron Sheekey // Matt Tromans // Hilary Weston Jones // Kelvin Wong from the Visual Communications School

Written, Produced and Directed by Andi Jepson and Chris Randall