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Stop-Motion Jelly Bean Animation Creates Music Video Magic

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Handmade animation is enough of a rarity these days, but stop-motion jelly bean storytelling is a one-of-a-kind treat in this inventive music video.

Against a moving background of 288,000 Jelly Belly beans, 26-year-old Kina Grannis takes a surreal trip into a candy-coated world while singing her original song "In Your Arms." Lifted into the air by two (presumably cotton candy-flavored) birds, Kina weathers a coconut-tasting snowball to the face and then, through some particularly impressive stop-motion-magic, swallows a caterpillar and spits out a monarch butterfly.

The three-minute, twenty-five second video—which also finds her splashing into a Jelly Belly sea, turning into a candy bean-version of herself and taking a trip to outer space—took almost two years to complete. According to the "Making Of" video, 30 people logged 1,357 hours to fill the video with a rather literal kind of eye candy.

What's even more astounding is that Grannis—whose "Message From Your Heart" video was enough of a YouTube hit in 2008 to win her a Super Bowl ad—didn't take the much-easier green-screen route: she actually posed with every separate frame to create an animated "in camera" music video.

When director Greg Jardin pitched the idea to Grannis over two years ago, she says her initial response was, "It sounds amazing, but I don't know if it will be possible." But after chewing over the idea, she took on the challenge. Jardin asked an illustrator friend of his, Lauren Gregg, to storyboard each sequence in the video.

Those sketches were rendered into computer animated frames, which were then projected onto a physical surface where each jelly bean mosaic was built. So the projected colors from the computer images provided the parameters for the candy canvas. In all, 2,300 frames were created and shot to complete the video.

But the resulting product is as sweet as the song itself, which helps explain how in less than a week it's well-on its way toward 2 million views. As for that fun-hating contingent of YouTubers who actually clicked "dislike" on the video, it's safe to say those people were not ready for this jelly (belly).

--Joseph Brannigan Lynch

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