A Stop-Motion 8-Bit Lego Masterpiece Nine Years In The Making

A Stop-Motion 8-Bit Lego Masterpiece Nine Years In The Making
Shadow Link and the secret of the golden rings. (Gif: Rymdreglage / Kotaku)

12 years ago Swedish musical duo Rymdreglage released the now-legendary Lego animated music video, 8-Bit Trip. This week, after nine years of work, three of which were spent building a custom camera-control rig, Daniel Larsson and Tomas Redigh triumphantly return with 8-Bit Trip 2, one of the most impressive brickfilms I’ve seen.

Brickfilms are, as the name suggests, videos built using Lego bricks as a primary component. They can be anything from simple stop-motion builds where bricks are added with every frame, or super-complex affairs involving complicated camera work and the inclusion of real-world elements. Elements like the human beings Daniel Larsson and Tomas Redigh, both of whom make appearances in the opening and ending moments of 8-Bit Trip 2.

Where the original video famously featured Larsson getting slowly encased in a colourful Lego shell, the sequel opens with the pair working together to create a Lego logo mural, interspersed with a brilliant sequence in which Redigh gets his beard and head shaved by Pac-Man, Link, and the guy from Karate Champ.

Shave and a haircut, 8 bits.  (Screenshot: Rymdreglage / Kotaku) Shave and a haircut, 8 bits. (Screenshot: Rymdreglage / Kotaku)

Lego mixed with sheared hair is a little gross, but that’s as surreal as the video gets. From there it’s a series of wonderfully-choreographed and shot homages to Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda, Tetris, and more. Stay tuned until the very end for some behind-the-scenes shots of the video being made.

Redigh, who mainly works on the duo’s videos while Larsson handles the music, gave Kotaku a little insight into how the gruelling project got done. As I mentioned, it all began with the custom camera rig.

“It took us (Tomas and Daniel) around three years, it is a pretty complex system where you can draw a path for the camera movement in a 3D modelling software, in this case Blender,” said Tomas, describing the camera tech they built. “After that the path is decoded into G-code, a language for CNC machines so you can use it to control stepper motors, making the camera ‘float’ around in the room where we were building the Lego characters.”

The video consists of still images taken with a DSLR camera at 24 frames per second. Tomas estimates the filming process took upwards of 2,000 hours. That, along with both artists having full time jobs, is how this project ended up taking the better part of a decade.

For those of you concerned with Lego brick numbers, Redigh told me they purchased 240 boxes of Legos from their local toy store, with 650 mixed pieces in each box. That’s 156,000 Lego bricks. To save some time, the pair built a bunch of 6 x 6 x 5 cubes in different colours, which keen eyes will spot throughout the video. For instance, here.

I've had nightmares like this.  (Screenshot: Rymdreglage / Kotaku) I’ve had nightmares like this. (Screenshot: Rymdreglage / Kotaku)

What a couple of brickheads. No word yet on if they’ll ever attempt an 8-Bit Trip 3, but since this one took nine years, I can understand if the duo wants a break.

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