How'd They Do That? Ninja's Unboxing


According to his channel, Patrick Boivin started drawing comic books 15 years ago, and quickly discovered that it was faster to tell a story with video. Fast forward to today: his videos have received an astounding 56 million views on YouTube, and he's perhaps best known for the YouTube edition of Street Fighter, an interactive video that uses annotations to play the game.

More recently, the French Canadian made waves with "Ninja's Unboxing," a video he produced for Google to celebrate the launch of the Nexus One phone. After exploring several concepts with the Google marketing team, they landed on this one, which sexes up the unboxing video trend like never before. Stealthy ninjas? Swift kicks and fancy footwork? Nunchucks, swords and box that's decimated for the treasure inside? Oh yes.

How did you make this video?
I created this clip with the technique called stop-motion. Basically, the clip has 15 images per second, and for each image, it took me between 30 seconds to 15 minutes to set the character in the right position. When you play the images back to back, you get movements...You can give life to pretty much everything with this technique.

How many hours did it take you to make this?
It took me full time, one month, alone in my living room. I did everything, except the sound and music that was created by my good friend Éric Pfalzgraf.

What do the Japanese phrases say in the video?
They say simple things like "There is a USB wire in the box." I wanted the clip to look really important, as if it were a real show about unboxing from another era.

Tell us something about this video that no one would know by looking at it.
Hmm...My greatest tool for creating stop-motion is a software called "Dragon Stop-Motion." It's a brilliant software that makes the animation process so much easier.

What I could also tell you is that I had a hard time with the three ninjas. I created them with different parts of 12-inch action figures that I bought on the Web. My first three quickly revealed to be very bad for stop-motion, and I ended up using the Bruce Lee figure I used in "Iron Man vs Bruce Lee" for the white ninja and the Michael Jackson figure from "Jackson vs Bean" for the black ninja. The red one, which was the coolest one to animate, was an action figure from a Hong-Kong company, Hot Toys (btw, Michael Jackson is also from Hot Toys). If you want to try animation with 12-inch action figures, go for the Hot Toys action figures. 

Unboxing videos are a huge trend on YouTube. Aside from your own, which one is your favorite?
I'm not a big fan of unboxing videos, but there is this one YouTube channel called 2Old4Toys that I think is the best example of "Wow, you make me wanna buy this toy that I absolutely don't need!

What is one essential tip you'd give to any videomaker?
The more you do, the better you get, and the more mistakes you make, the more you learn about not making them again when comes the time to create your ultimate video!

What's your favorite YouTube channel?
I think that Melodysheep and Kutiman are great examples of the impact YouTube actually has on the beginning of the 21st century's pop culture.

45 Responses on "How'd They Do That? Ninja's Unboxing"

  1. ActionJon says:

    The figures are Hot Toys but some aren't sold on their website or they're just coming from too far (Hong Kong). You might as well get them from their retailer buddy, Sideshow. And while we're talking about it, I also posted about Michael Jackson action figure Thriller on my blog.

    I've already seen this video and it's the coolest video Patrick has done so far in my opinion. He's done a bunch of others on youtube, check his older videos as well to get a sense of his progression.

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