January and February working steadily and by the end of June we reached the 30 MINUTE mark which was very exciting for us.
March we started on a big change in sets and found out our beautiful buddy and best mate Sim had cancer. This put us into a downward spiral which led to a mess which we just couldn't clean up. We nursed Sim for 8 weeks taking her to the shed with us when we could, which eventually led to us staying home with her till she died two weeks ago. She had given us 12 years very happy years and no animation was worth neglecting her.
Here she is below at the shed resting.
We finally went back to the shed and cleaned up because the CORDS were making us sick and we were starting to fade.
The evenings at the shed are starting to look like this. It is very cold and no rain is only worsening the drought situation here in Queensland.
Not much else to say- hopefully with the next entry we will have lots of photos etc. We have a fair bit to finish with the set change, it is very big with total puppet changes outfits hair etc. Have been working on lenses that will have to be animated frame by frame to warp images in the next section. We also are working on spotlights that need to be animated to move with the puppets. So lots of things starting to happen again
Working on changes and update to website. We should have that coming soon, lots of photos and catch ups with what's been happening.
As you can see by the frame count we are still at it and are now 34 minutes and working steadily.
This little beauty will be further explained when we finally get our technical page up, keep posted as it may be of interest to some caus we are flicker free.
The promised update.
Thankyou to everyone who has showed interest and support in what we are doing.
It has been increasingly harder for us to get back a focus and at times an interest . Even though we still worked consistently we think working the seven days a week with very long hours we were starting to burn out. It takes a certain kind of focus and concentration and the physical work was more like maintaining a balance between our physical and a mental state (chocolate can do so much) so we can sustain the long hours of sometimes just pushing buttons. We decided to try and work five days sraight and spend two days just slogging ourselves bashing a few rocks around in the yard. This was a very good move, everything has seemed to be moving along steadily since we have been doing this. We even have time to watch movies and update a webpage.
We worked a long time on the camera adapter that would allow the image in this next scene to have a warped look. Shifty Boy was an 8mm video wide angle lens adaptor (off a super 8 camera) fitted in front of a 55mm macro on the camera which could be twisted horizontally or vertically to send parts or the image out of focus. The images were really beautiful but impossible to pull focus or do a moving shot. After a lot of mucking around we eventually got a Sigma 8mm fisheye lens. This has given us a different look from what we were originally wanting but it does look nice especially when the camera is moving. It is also a dream as we don't have to worry about focus.
Above are some of the test shots that were taken with shifty boy
Above shots are some of the first tests with the fisheye lens
Some other lighting needed were spotlights. We wanted to have spotlights that would move around and follow the puppets for this scene. We made two wooden contraptions that would hold a light ( we used a bayonet ceiling light holder with a hallogen bulb that does'nt need a transformer). We had to make it all adjustable so it could be moved frame by frame. This is what they look like. Because the spotlight had to be a fair way from the actual light and the size needed to be specific we had to use magnifying glasses in front of the light source. This is adjustable as well. Only thing wrong is they are large and heavy but we put a beam in above the animation and they work well there. Only other trouble again is there are three of them now and you have to go up and down a ladder for every frame to adjust them. Only other other trouble is they blow bulbs and $3.50 each and each new one gives off a different glow, which gives a different light concentration. Phillips what are you doing.
Left and right is how the spotlight turned out and centre a behind the scenes test shots.
We have put together a couple of sneak preview mini trailers and this one below shows the spotlights moving.
We also needed coloured and clear party light look and at some stage we needed it to look like there was a disco ball flashing. The party lights we had used earlier on and we just have to make sure they are on permanantly or if we need them flashing we usually have to bring in another source of coloured lights and cheat a bit. We had used a disco ball in another animation we did and really liked what happened when we animated the ball in small increments with a close light source. Just another added animated object to worry about but hey its all a battle when you have no budget and want to play!!!!
These are shots of the girl puppet up in the ceiling of the tent, the camera is on a bodgy tilt head that we must have needed in a hurry that day. The left image is a close up of the disco ball and its (2mm) increments marked with an oh so accurate piece of wire. Lighting has been really a lot easier with the spotlights following the puppets actions, but when we got up into the roof of the tent we started to get a lot of camera shadow and because the fisheye is so close at times we just can't help it. (fix it in post)
This is probably the biggest set so far that we have done for an animation. It reaches the ceiling of our shed (about 5 mtrs) and we have one 2.4 mt table along the back and two 2.4 along the side and in the centre of this we made two adjustable trap door thingos. The tent goes probably a metre wider than this at the sides. We have the camera mounted on our aluminium jib arm (which we stupidly cut shorter for a previous shot) mounted on a dolly that runs through the middle of the trap doors which give us easy movement all round. We have made several adjustments along the way to pan and tilt heads to work with what we want at the time. The camera with the fisheye does some really weird things. We are getting a circle of some kindon the sides but it looks cool and we have done some effects in editing which gives it a smoother edge so we are not worried about that. It really does take in a lot of information so a lot has had to fall away into shadow as we just don't have the space.
Above are behind the scenes photos of the coloured lights and left isthe gib arm and how the set is constructed. Forgot to say that this set we can walk on. We didn't think it was possible to do this especially when the tables are a bodge home construction, but we can walk on them and there are no shakes in the animation, so far.
Here are some shots of the camera on another smaller pan and tilt head, this one could follow the action to the ceiling.
Right now we are have almost 35 minutes edited animation and are at the centre of the film where a most significant thing happens. We still have the beginning and a few blue screen etc that would make us in realitly about 40 min. So lots of things are happening, we have again a whole new set of puppets to make for a kind of flash back (we use this same set) and we see some of the animals for the first time. So they have to be finished.
We have a very big blue screen sequence coming up so it will be interesting to see how that works out. We have a new character who is probably only in the film for about a couple of seconds, but he was constructed in one of our most favourite ways, just bits of old puppets (body, leg, arm etc) joined together with glue and hopefully he can be animated live.
Also as soon as we are finished with this set another just as large will have to bebuilt on the same table, we like the ease of being able to move the camera around. While that is being done we will probably be doing the blue screen and at the same time always working on new props etc etc.
We had a cool visitor to our shed who helped with some shots. Thanks Jake you rock !!!
We have been animating smoothly and almost ready to start a new scene in this same set when our looping camera (the spy camera) decided to break. It started to go black and white and then developed white lines and we couldnt use it at all. We have had no trouble with this particular spy camera at all. We have been getting really good images with the system we had developed with lighting and we liked the colour. Anyway we went to OzSpy where we had originally got our other camera . We thought we would try black and white because we heard they were good in low light which we thought would be better than what we had. When we tried it we found that because it was good in low light it didn't seem to have much latitude at all and was just blowing out the puppets so badly that we couldn't animate by it. We tried all sorts of changes to the loop lighting but nothing worked . We then went and changed it for one that was suppose to be the replacement for the one we had. The images we got with this one was so murky looking and no matter what we did we just couldnt get a focus . We are losing days because of this and the guy at OzSpy has been so good he exchanged this for another which is a lot bigger in size has a 1/3 inch chip, is colour with a c mount 16mm lens which we are testing at the moment trying to get it to work caus it has to.
What looks interesting is that when we put a 25mm c mount lens on it we get a zoomed in view of the animation which could be interesting. One thing we can't seem to get is the colour to work on the fish eye lens, it works on other lenses but not that one. So losing animation days but catching up on other things in between testing. We will post some photos when we get some.
Wombok Forest t shirt AU$30.00 availability early 2007
email miles and jules and if we get enough orders we should have some available January 2007
we will set up paypal for overseas and bank deposit for local