nto the new year and hoping to keep to a new timetable that may help us to move faster and get most of the animating part of Wombok finished this year. We have one more week of animating to go before we pull down the large set we have been working on over the last few montlhs. One of our ideas to try to keep things moving is to have one of us at home catching up with blue screen pickups in a small shed and the other building the two sets, props and puppet stuff at the larger shed. We will swap this job until we have got to where we want. This should take til the end of February and we then will start shooting again.

(looking back now of course this didn't workout for long!!!)

So this is a shot we did over two days, tilting, craning, panning and dollying, moving 60 clowns, one puppet, 30 bubble gum balls, flashing intermittent lights and opening and closing two trapdoors - the shot goes for 4 seconds





Above some more shots of the circus tent setup, the mess we get with cords. The first image shows the pan and gear head with the camera and fisheye lens that we used for most of the shooting of this scene.


Some more shots of the circus stuff the image on the right shows the lighting we were getting from the disco ball



Above - we only remembered at the last minute that we had to make all new boy and girl puppets, so we had to start that in a hurry and finish off some of the new characters to start the next scene.


Last month we were trying to keep to a tighter timetable which of course was not working, but we hoped it would get us closer to a finish date in shooting, maybe towards the end of this year to early next year. We are still experiencing some of the hardest times with our minds wandering off independently and starting to think of other projects and other things we could be doing. At times it feels like we are losing it. Maybe this is something animators feel on long projects - it would be good to hear if others have experienced this four years into the same project.

Good side of things is that we have shot a few more minutes. The large circus tent (while we are talking about this a real circus came to our town with performing lions and camel's and sickening CLOWNS - truly horrid to see the cages and the big lit up tent with its straw and stands - for a whole week and the heat here at the time was so bad and we are in a drought - so how did the animals keep cool??? i guess we see it as exploitation and they should be banned by now surely - anyway our tent came down to make room for another large set. While this is happening we are shooting another scene on a smaller table. We are using assorted coloured gels over the lights for this section which looks pretty cool and helps with some of the dicey animation. We have introduced 7 more characters and it becomes difficult to move them all at once. We have always done long shots (well we think they must be long caus when we have looked at other animations we see most cuts are 3 or 4 seconds) some of our shots last 15 seconds or longer. We are now using shorter shots for this section which is helping tremendously with the amount of movements we are doing. The animating is getting harder!!

We had big changes again in our way of working (taking the shots and using the loop etc) this caused more problems and we hope now that we are finally ready and this will be the last change. We are now seeing the full res images at our shed when before we had to take them home to see them on a larger lcd screen This did cause problems with our looping program as it stopped working but thanks to the guys from Stop Motion Pro we got it working but have had to go back to a previous program until the new one comes out. Anyway these are all the least of our problems at the moment .


Aiden and Oliver b 8.4.07



These are some fresh images from the latest stuff we are doing. We are trying to experiment with different lighting, using lens flare, gels etc but because of some of the changes technically that we made and talked about earlier up the page, we now are having trouble even seeing what the shot as a whole actually looks like. We have put it down to that we have been using a bigger lcd screen to see what the camera is showing us with lighting etc. After many shots and arguments we have figured out that the lcd screen is so lifeless, flat and correct that we can't seem to feel the mood of the shot. It is like looking at an image and feeling absolutely nothing. We spend so much time on the lighting and the props and sets it sort of looks wasted on the lcd. So because of this all the lighting has been screwed up and interest started to die down. We really had to sit down and have an all out session to sort out why we were feeling this way. We now think the lcd is great for the compositing and the eventual online correction etc. but not for lighting and shot setup. We are now in the middle of changing it all back again.

Another change we had made was viewing the final rendered shots at the shed. Previous to the new year we had a low res dv copy in our computer at home that we kept as sort of a progressing offline edit. When we got the new equipment we stopped doing this so we also think we need to have that continual familiarity with the work, as this new way we have been doing it we do the shot, render it, watch it and then leave for home with no actual rendered copy of the work as a whole to sort of keep going over.

The third image along shows a geared pan and tilt tripod head that we finally bought to replace the home made wooden geared heads that we had made over the last few years.

We are missing the fisheye lens and got a bit spoilt using it. We now have the horrid focus fears back.

We have a bit more space on our webpage now and have put up another couple of our previous films. Go back to main page, click on Mulesfilm and then click on filmography "Gordon" and "Rocky" are stop frame animations.

Sickness has struck and we have had to spend a few weeks at home but in the end this has been very positive for us. Being stuck at home and unable to work at the shed has allowed us more time to work on the offline edit of the footage we have shot so far. And the good news is the newly edited film is acutally


minutes long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we are just so excited about this and if we add a two minute music clip we are about to do we will be



We have also discovered some interesting uses of greenscreen which has allowed some shots that we thought were totally unusable to now be resized with rocks/trees whatever greenscreened in on top. We always knew we would have to do a lot of compositing but this has really allowed us to use this otherwise unusable footage.

We are also experimenting with telecine 16mm using the Nikon D70 by altering a 16mm projector. This is still in experimental stage but so far it is working and this could be used to shoot live action (puppets on rods etc).




Above the final frilly lizard hand puppets.

Above some images from "Enterprize Inventor" we did the stop frame animation only.

We have decided to amalgamate this years news from April till now (which is acutally 8th Feb 2008) .Hard to explain what has happened to us since April we have been in such a mess but we have come out of it in a very positive way. We think we were on the verge of burn out when the other jobs came in around April-May. We worked around the clock doing two hand puppet filly Lizards (which took 12 weeks) and a stop frame animation for a UQ ad and a "puppet house" for two of our other films "Gordon" and "Rocky" for IDAP, a touring exhibition that has been in Japan, Australia and over the next couple of years will tour to China. We were just finishing that when we got a job to do a film clip for an awsome Brissy band called Corn Liquor. We then had to get onto the run sequence starting December that we got a grant from RADF to work in partnership with the Ipswich art Gallery, to have finished and installed in the gallery by 5-6th February. This is why the website can now be updated .......we have a week before we get back.

Looking back and reading the journal notes about these times, we think we were at a stage before we started to do the other work, where we did not think what we were doing was working both technically and conceptually and we were very tired. We were starting to differ greatly on the way we wanted to work. The very very good thing that has come out of having to do the run sequence is we have realized something very important in our work. That is, why we work together and what makes us want to and what part we have in making it as a whole.

Also we thought greenscreen was our answer. It is not - what our work relies on is the detail in puppets, sets, props and lighting.

Another problem we came across was when we tried to build and render especially with a deadline. It was taking us hours building them in after effects using 3k raw files and rendering them out to HD (1920-1080) Even our dual core that we built in 2006 could do this without taking hours. The other smaller computers just kept crashing constantly- we even went and bought a Mac to use final cut studio to solve our rendering problems etc but we didnt have the time to learn the new programs and we were suprised to see that it only handles 2k files anyway. We ended up editing with our hd offline files with burnt in timecode and rendered them out to HD.

It was a good experience and something we have to solve for the future.