Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Production Update: 15/05/2012

Today we've had a really productive day at the studio as we have covered quite a lot of shots for our project. We have been keeping to a very strict schedule which has been shared throughout the group and has constantly been updated by our team director and producer. 
Monday night, Katie and Jen striked the foyer set and set up the next set (shoe shop interior). It is a smaller set so we are using 2 trestles and 3 lights. 

Tuesday began by preparing the puppets for animating, (repairing hands, tightening joints etc). In shot 32, we wanted Grandpa to stand up and admire his shoes whilst Fred steps into shot. We added extra flooring infront of the set so that Fred could be closer to the camera. taking the frame of a spare prop chair, we glued it to the floor and gaffa taped Fred on top. The camera was positioned at a low angle to look through the chair frame, and then fred's legs come down over the camera's point of view. 

Kendra animated Grandpa, whilst Moses animated Fred.

Our whole team was here today which really helped us push our level of productivity as different shots were assigned to each member - which worked really well, as it started with Katie and Jen animating  Grandpa listening to a shoe (the spats) and then Moses animating Fred's hand beginning to move followed by Kendra animating Grandpa putting his new shoes on and reacting to Fred coming to life. 
The trickiest part is checking continuity. Jen had reshoot the scene where grandpa ties his laces, so we could include an extra scene before it.  

The two photo's below is a look at our shot list and the ones marked with red are shots we have completed, and as you can see in the photos we have a little bit more to go which are all shorter shots, that contain stills, shorter timings and minimal movement shots.


As the day went on Katie shared between each of us still shots to clean up so that we are ahead of things when it comes to post-production. We completed 5 shots also today as this was our target today, which were the shorter shots. The schedule is in constant flux as we plough through scenes, dropping scenes which don't work, combining other scenes and adding extra scenes for continuity. Each day we have an outline of the shots to be completed, and then when we have completed the daily quota, we try to squeeze in another shot or two.

Music score and choreographing the dance

Katie went to a church hall in Plumpton to film Ellie and Morgan dancing as Grandpa and Fred (respectively). This was in the early stages of mapping out the dance for the animatic.

Thursday 12th April, Katie and Jen went to Brighton Electric Recording Studios. The Swing Ninjas had booked a session to record a new piece of music for us. We also had the dancers, Graeme and Amanda there to record tapping sounds of the dancing shoes. Will recorded several takes of the music (a version of just the music, one with dancing and music together and one with just the dancing.) so that he could be flexible with the editing.

Then on Tuesday 24th April, Katie went down to Brighton (9pm-11pm) to record Graeme and Amanda dancing the final routine in their studio.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Production update

Fred seems to be having a blast this past week as we've been having a lot of fun animating him - as you can see above.

We've managed to plough through quite a lot of tricky shots that include both Fred and Grandpa dancing. Jen and Katie between them have been making dope sheets for the dance moves from the video footage of the dancers. Then in Dragonframe we put the video in as a reference to refer to along with the dope sheets frame by frame. This is a new way of working for all of us, so has been really exciting following the dope sheet and seeing the end result of the puppets dancing perfectly in time with the music. 

As our set is really large, it has been a bit of  challenge animating some shots. We designed the set so that it would divide into three sections to allow easy access to all areas. However, Pete, who cut the wood for the sets, had to change the design, so we are animating through the doors and windows. We have had to carefully stretch over our set and props as some shots are tricky to handle, which Jen is happily demonstrating for us above. 

Under the heat of the lights and the exaggerated dance moves, some of the puppets' limbs have come loose and had to be repaired. Both puppets have been designed so that we can access the armature bolts quite easily.

We have drilled holes in the set floor to fix the puppet's feet securely. Each puppet has a hole in their feet and a corresponding key which we screw up through the floor. Sometimes it takes two people to do this. Here Katie holds Grandpa still from above and Jen tightens his feet from underneath the set. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Easter Pre-Production - Shop props

Over the easter break we all had quite a few things to catch up on before returning to university after the holidays, as at this time we all had our busy schedules but we all tried hard to create what was needed for our set.

Katie created quite a lot of props to go into the window displays for both the shop front and lingerie section. She also created some pairs of miniature underwear for lingerie section by sewing different parts of material together. She also made some makeup stand items (perfumes, mirrors, lipstick, makeup brushes and clothing line pegs) along with casting our main puppets head out of silicon.

Kendra did a great job as she helped to create the many pairs of shoes and shoe boxes for our shoe section, the shoes are all made out super sculpti which we all had a go at using to create different props and items, which was quite tricky to use as we not only had to created the props needed but we had to bake them aswell. 

While making these shoes Kendra discovered her passion for shoes which came in handy here.

Niz our fist year animation student helped us out also by creating some lovely sofas, shoe stands and gold table - which all look really amazing.

Moses here helped to create our lovely fountain which has a little fountain piece of Gene Kelly, who has been our greatest inspiration to this project, we also discovered through him that we have a 3D workshop at our university, which is where we sent Moses to help cut our all our wood and acrylic acetate for our set's windows and set designs.

The water fountains base was made from MDF wood cut out in the 3D workshop and the centre piece/stand from super sculpti which was also baked to harden and paint.

Jen did a great job at sculpting and casting Grandma's head from placaline which really looks great, as it took quite a while to create her head because of her character design - but Jen managed to create a great look for her hair style as she sculpted this patiently and then casted with silicon along with Grandma's legs too. 

Jen then went on to cast the mannequins using fast cast and this helped to really speed up the process of producing the mannequins which will all be in our animation.

And in the end this is what our set looked like once we brought our props together!

Pre-Production 1 - Before Easter

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Grandpa and Fred intro

This is the one of the key shots where Fred is introduced to 
Grandpa as Fred decides to be a bit cheeky towards Grandpa.

Katie and Moses both took turns to animate this scene with Fred included,
as Katie animated Granada and Moses animated Fred.

Key frames were quite tricky to animate in this particular shot as a lot of movement
with both puppets and props was a little tricky to do - but they managed to get it sorted.

Above we have a shot of Grandpa from Fred's point of view.
Next to it is Grandpa's shoe that Jen had been working on also that day.
It's covered really neatly with some black cloth she brought in.

So Grandpa's got a new pair of shoes! and is delighted 
whereas Fred is quite surprised at it all.

Production Update 2

In these production photos Jen and Kendra are both making and touching up props. Jen is working on Grandpas spats as they were made of silicon and needed to be a jet black colour for his shoes. There was a slight problem with the shoes as Katie cast them in silicon and tried to make them black but the emulsion made it a grey colour instead so Jen began to sow black material over the shoes.

Kendra finished making the extra boxes needed for the shoe store which look great, and gave a hand at animating Grandpa in the underwear department. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Production update 1

So far this week we've put together a shot list for our animation as we have completed the pre-production stage as everything is in working order. On Monday the 23rd April we began to animate our opening scene where Grandma and Grandpa are walking along the department store. It was a very tricky task as we ran a couple of tests before shooting this scene, but we've managed to get through it.


The puppets and background set we had to be animated at the same time which was a challenge in its own way, as we had to keep an eye on moving the set whilst animating Grandma and Grandpa.

We each took turns to try and animate the characters so we can get a better understanding of how to use and animate puppets in stop motion - which is all about practice, repetition and consistency.

We carried on to animate throughout the day and worked quite hard and then retreated on home quite late that day.

Grandpa's glasses broke a few times but we managed to fix them asap - he's all better now. 

Katie put together a schedule for our production stage which is very helpful and yet due to change if needed.

During this day, we had our whole team in and working on different parts of the project. Kendra helped to work on making extra props for the sets as we were short on quite a few boxes for our shoe store section.


Jen and Moses  gave a hand to help animate a couple of shots set out for today and setup the set for the next days shoot.

Katie began to work on our mysterious character Fred who is new to the scene, the photo's above show Fred's outfit and armature along with stuffing.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Moulding & casting research

After working with plasticine on several projects, Katie wanted to work with silicone puppets like they do in the industry. Jen had some knowledge of the materials to use and after researching a bit deeper, found some useful tutorials and blogs online by other modelmakers and animators.

( the above two videos are by http://www.picturetrail.com/hilligossnic )

Ben Whitehouse http://benwportfolio.blogspot.co.uk/

And also we stumbled across two brothers called Joshua and Nathan Flynn (or as we call them 'The Flynn Twins') who both studied animation at the University of Glamorgan. They have documented the making process of their current project 'Opening Night'.

University of Glamorgan is also where animator Tim Allen studied! Theres a really good interview with him on The 11 Second Club blog here http://blog.11secondclub.com/2011/11/tim-allen-interview.html

Animation Tests - 7th March 2012

Katie brought the maquette of grandpa into uni to do some animation tests. his feet are bolted to the floor which has a grid of holes to allow him to move in any direction across the floor.

Grandpa examines shoe

Grandpa walk test

Grandpa dance

Thank you to Anita for setting up the lights, camera and computer.
Jen edited the footage and added sound.

visual tests - 7 March 2012

Here is  a look at Grandpa and a special pair of shoes, followed by a character turn around of Fred in the early stages of design. The middle image is a test to see what our animation would look like if we were to go ahead with a split screen theme between Fred and Grandpa - to reflect their opposite worlds.

Kendra designed the background image and Katie created Grandpa, Fred's character turn around was modeled by a friend of Katie's.