Long Reads

Clips of Yore

LEGO Studios’ camera was not quite as timeless as the bricks it included.

My excitement over the amazing videos Mark made about our Lego adventures got me thinking about our Lego videos of days gone by. I “discovered” stop motion by accident while attempting to take live-action videos of my Lego creations and noticing that objects jumped in between takes. After learning that it was, in fact, A Real Thing, it quickly became one of my favorite video mediums. I loved claymation films like Wallace and Gromit, and spent a lot of time attempting to apply it to Lego.

When LEGO Studios came out in the early oughts, I got to work harassing Jason and Mark to help me use its low-resolution camera and crash-prone software to try and make stop-motion movies. I still have all the raw clips and a few fully-exported videos buried on my hard drives in all their pixelated (and occasionally de-synchronized) glory. At the time, I was most proud of The Call, a music video based on a song of the same name from Michael W. Smith’s instrumental album, Freedom. That early 2002 project was—like all the others—a collaboration involving Jason and Mark, the latter of whom has gone on to make real movies in the intervening eighteen years.

I went looking for a completed export and the file I found was…somewhat lackluster. Thanks to AI-based upscaling algorithms and modern editing tools, I was able to recreate a version of our original vision. Side by side with the Bugatti video, it feels like a metaphor for how much its creators have matured.

This was once the pinnacle of our Lego filmmaking.

Mark and I building the 42083 Bugatti Chiron.