The film Peter and the Wolf has been produced using a process called stop frame or stop motion animation, which is created in three dimensions with puppets and props (an example of this technique are the Wallace and Gromit Films). Each frame of the film is created from an image taken with a stills camera, in which tiny adjustments are made to the puppets for each shot in order to create the impression of movement.
There are lots of elements involved in making a stop frame animated film. Scripts, sketches and storyboards are made of the film and characters, as well as a full length, completely computer generated version of the film (called an “animatic”).
Then the puppets, props and set are designed and made, and finally, after all of this, shooting the film can begin! As you can imagine, this process can take a long time. Peter and the Wolf has taken about three years!
The clip above shows examples of the animatic version of the film as well as the final stop frame animation.
All the puppets that are made have a framework inside them called “armatures”. This framework allows the person controlling the puppet to reposition it easier for each shot. For this version of Peter and the Wolf, the bird was changed from a songbird to a crow because the “armatures” for a songbird would have been too small and difficult to make!
Also, Peter and the Wolf is different from most film in the sense that the visual components have been created to fit the music, whereas in the majority of films, the soundtrack is created to fit the images.