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March 1, 2007
24 hours in halfland
by sven at 9:00 pm
On my way back from Tucson, I made a detour through LA... And suddenly found myself in Halfland!
Check it out! Shelley and I co-exist!
I got to see with mine own eyes the Halfland set being made...
It's big, yo! And it's going to be even bigger! Very impressed.
Well, you get two animators together, whatcha gonna do? Um... Animate?
Shelley wanted to see the difference between using a webcam and using a digital still camera. We threw a sheet of pegboard on top of some cinderblocks. I opened up the laptop and connected my Canon Powershot G5. I did capture using Canon's proprietary software, RemoteCapture. (DSCs are notoriously difficult to get running happily with a framegrabber.)
I had the Diplomat with me, and threw this sloppy clip together in a minute or two. "Proof of concept."
We detached the still cam and replaced it with the "Honorary Strider Stop Motion Patrol Unibrain Webcam of Joy" -- which works seamlessly with FrameThief.
Shells really liked animating Dad... I suggested hot-gluing lengths of armature wire onto the back of Webster the elf -- and then he got in on the action.
Next, I gave Shells a quick tutorial on how to capture sound, analyze it in Papagayo, and do lipsync in FrameThief. ...What a trip to see someone else breathing life into my pups!
I had the opportunity to look at Shelley's scrapbooks from her time working with Julie Taymor. I love all the textures -- which is something Shells is really good at. So, the next morning Shelley gave me an impromptu workshop on textures and improvisational puppet construction.
Here's what we came up with: a puppet with tree branches for legs, a paper and burlap torso, and an earthen clay head. We tried standing him up with bits of plasticene... But it wasn't very stable. So instead, each of us held one leg, and I told Shelley how much to move for each frame.
The end result seemed too fast, so we slowed it down. Shelley hadn't seen this function of QuickTime Pro before -- so I was glad to be able to do another micro-tut.
Waiting on my pillow I found a little bowl of chocolates and a baby rose. Before I went to bed, Shelley snuck a hot water bottle into the bed, so I could warm my feet. When I woke in the morning, a terry-cloth robe and slippers were waiting for me.
And -- OH! -- the meals! I was particularly taken with the mascarpone/lemon curd/peaches concoction that Shells improvised. Gonna have to try making that one myself!
The thing about Shelley that I'm most left with is her loving attention to details. I mean, look at that vise! Who glues a little wooden heart onto their vise?!? Things like this were gently tucked into nooks all around Paul and Shelley's home.
On one of the walls there were two photos next to each other. One of a catepillar. One of a moth. Shelley hand-fed THAT catepillar -- and it became THAT moth.
Imagine it: patiently feeding a catepillar and then getting to see it transform.
There. Now you understand Shelley.
I had a tremendous time in Halfland -- it was sad to have to leave. And there was so much more to the visit than what I've been able to write...
Let's just end with the symbolic photo: a meeting of worlds.