Hyde’s latest animation, made for Next New Wave. Music by Neurotic Fiction @thebandneuroticfiction
WORDS: Stu Gomez
Since Instagram introduced video in Summer 2013, social platforms have followed suit by continually improving the way we stream. For skaters, the past four years have been a godsend; the sheer volume of bite-size edits ensure that we always have something tasty to devour. The residual benefit of this newfound technological access is the emergence of a rapidly evolving community of creative editors and artists, showcasing their best work and finding an audience for their idiosyncratic work that—either just for fun or rewriting the staid rules of marketing—find inventive ways to present skateboarding.
One of the standouts in this field is the U.K.’s Jack Hyde, an animator who has carved a niche by cleverly retooling skate footage and reframing it by using stop-motion and digital loops. Hyde is well-versed in animating in many forms—including rotoscope, 2D, 3D—but his stop-motion work seems to be somehow tailor-made for the unreal quality of skateboarding. A typical Hyde stop-motion loop involves a painstaking process of printing stills (sometimes numbering in the hundreds) from a clip, cutting and rearranging elements (including skater and background), then gluing/snapping, gluing/snapping, until the reworked clip seems like it was all just a product of someone’s overactive imagination. (A standout representative animation is his ode to Danny Way’s 2015 record-breaking air—Hyde’s hand is seen reaching down from the heavens, manipulating Way’s moment of truth. The vibe is Gulliver at Lilliput’s high-air contest.)
*Hyde in the studio. *
Hyde started animating in 2007, while he was a film student. (“Ironically, I didn’t take the animation module,” Hyde says.) His roommate at the time was working on a stop-motion animation, and Hyde got inspired. He downloaded some animation software, plugged in his DV camera, and started animating in his spare time.
Early on, he was mainly using his skills to make commercials and music videos for friends. Then he nabbed his first commercial project: a video for one of his favorite bands, Explosions In The Sky. “I was chuffed to bits as I loved that band so much, and I still do,” Hyde says. “It was an amazing and lucky way for me to start animating for people outside of my friendship circle.”
Aside from a few early shaky moments in his freelance career (“One time I was halfway through an intricate stop-motion animation when I knocked over a tripod and lens; that was stressful, to say the least.”), it has been fairly smooth sailing for Hyde. He recognizes the importance of planning, dedicating time to storyboarding and reserving extra time to cover those inevitable unforeseen circumstances that could hobble a complex project. His resume is stacked with commercial and artistic work for a broad range of segments. Hyde’s background is in skating, and his stop-motion animation tends to be some of the most arresting work in his portfolio.
Now that he is developing a skate-specific following, brands have been hitting him up for some of that Hyde magic. But in the past year, a less welcome group of fans have been sliding into his DMs: a network of Fifty Shades Darker enthusiasts. To explain: Jack Hyde happens to share a name with a key character in the erotic boudoir drama, and this has been garnering some unwanted, but not altogether uninteresting, attention. He has received messages from characters in the E.L. James series, and has been included in some very strange quotidian scenarios (“They were acting out all the scenes from the books,” Hyde says, “but not the steamy bits—just the everyday, normal bits.”) It’s been a weird window into the world of Fifty Shades roleplay, but Hyde—though amused—takes a pragmatic view: “Maybe I should have made some Fifty Shades animations. Maybe I’m missing a trick there?”
Shots from Hyde’s Leo Romero animation (Dream Series).