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Orpheus and Eurydice – digital art project

Published on 29/01/14

Creating a film or animation of a myth or legend. The group reached a consensus to make a version of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, but they wanted to give it a modern twist.

The Year 9 (8th grade) digital art students were tasked with creating a film or animation of a myth or legend.


The group reached a consensus to make a version of the Greek myth Orpheus and Eurydice, but they wanted to give it a modern twist. They decided to set the film in school and took inspiration from the horror genre - especially using the popular character of 'Laughing Jack' as inspiration for the look of the evil characters.

Once the actors and main ideas for the film had been agreed, the myth was divided up into scenes and each student was given one scene to storyboard, direct and edit themselves.

The students learned how to shoot with the DSLR on continuous shoot mode, to create an 'animated' film made up of hundreds of still photographs. They learned how to rig and shoot against a green screen - which they positioned in many ingenious places around the art department. Each student took her turn to direct the actors and shoot with the camera. One group chose to film in the school locker room, while another shot a scene in Miss Kilby's office.

The masks were designed and created by one group of students while others were filming their scenes. Some lengths were gone to to try to film Orpheus crying while playing the violin - the students used contact lens solution to give the effect of tears.

greenscreenHaving completed the shoot, the students worked in the Mac Suite learning how to use the professional editing program, Final Cut Pro, to edit their photographs together into a moving image sequence. They used the 'Keyer' filter to key out the green screen and added other filters and backgrounds to create the dark, haunting look of the film.

As the students began to edit the sound for their portions of the film, they quickly discovered the importance of a rich and detailed soundtrack. They found that through attention to timing and sound editing they were able to build emotional tension and create the feeling of suspense evocative of the horror genre. A pair of students recorded the voice over using the school sound recorder and one student researched and downloaded suitable violin music from a free music archive.

Finally, all the sequences were collected together by Miss Cooper who pieced together the final film responding to suggestions from the class. Feedback was gathered from a test screening at the Stephen Perse Film Production Club, and a few final tweaks were made to the edit.

The last lesson of the module was full of excitement as the film neared completion. There was just time for students to make some hasty adjustments to the soundtrack and create the scrolling credits. And finally...

...Orpheus and Eurydice, in all its gothic horror, was ready to be shown to an innocent and unsuspecting audience at the parents evening.