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January 6, 2006

while moon baby's in the hospital...

by sven at 11:59 pm

Tuesday and Wednesday I did a few more simple stopmo experiments. Can't let Moon Baby being in the hospital bring everything to a halt!

click on image to play movie (139 KB)

Tuesday night I went over to the studio; threw together a bit of 2"x2" pine scrap, masonite, and bronze (?) wire; painted it all white, and taped on a paper face. ...Voila! New puppet.

It only took about an hour to make; I consider it a throw-away. The masonite base is so I don't have to worry about tie-downs and walking for a while; it just slides around. The arms are too stiff to do much with... However, I did try something new: drilling holes in the torso, and weaving the strands of wire through -- a good idea that I'm borrowing from Nick Hilligoss. I also gave this puppet some fingers using very thin aluminum wire, just to get a feeling for what that would be like.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon I was brainstorming story ideas. When I was making this clip, I had this story germ in mind:

"a solitary artist [...] nightly looks at the stars, paints them and paints them, and ultimately releases a star into the sky from his own chest"

I liked the look of the puppet interacting with the paintbrush -- but it also turned out to be pretty difficult making it grip the prop. Puppet hands aren't people hands; that's something I'll have to remember. Maybe they'd grip better if I exaggerated the length of the fingers?

click on image to play movie (427 KB)

When the painter in the first clip is making his spiral line, that was drawn in with a black crayola marker. ...I wanted something without fumes! The look was so appealing, I decided to try something else with the markers.

The light in this second clip is pretty awful -- I've been doing my work on the livingroom floor again. Gretchin was typing on the couch, so I wanted to hang out with her. ...This experiment was a nice surprise for her when she finally looked up, too. :-)

click on image to play movie (776 KB)

I did this third clip the following night, after being out doing Artist's Way postering all day. Again, terrible lighting in the livingroom -- and I forgot to turn off the camera's auto-focus for the first bit. Still, this was my longest stopmo clip to date -- 363 frames @ 24 fps for 15 sec.

Like I said in my last post, I'm thinking now that the final project ought to be done animating objects rather than puppets -- hence the blocks. The blocks were cut off the same 2"x2" piece of pine that the artist puppet came from -- using a miter saw to get straight lines. I taped on photocopies of my face just to make them a bit more interesting. I chose to go with black and white because the Super8 final project will ultimately be shot on b/w filmstock.

My lesson while working on this clip: it's easy to make things zip around on screen way too fast! Move the objects in even tinier increments, and have them pause longer -- 24 frames per second is a lot of space to fill.

posted by sven | January 6, 2006 11:59 PM | categories: movies, stopmo