Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Making GREY AREA 'First Sketches'

In my day job at TANDEM films, I've been asked to make some BTS (Behind The Scenes) videos following the production of Grey Area; the next animated short film from Oscar-winning Director Daniel Greaves. We've decided to create some short online episodes giving our web followers some bite-sized glimpses into the production stages as they happen.

I've worked on Dan's films before, but it's been nice to be asked this time to help document and publicise this one as it happens. The Making GREY AREA films will be published to the TANDEM Vimeo site and be shared via the Grey Area Facebook page.

The first of the Making GREY AREA films is called 'First Sketches' and has just been published. It's a little 1 minute film showing Dan Greaves at work sketching some of his early character designs.

I shot this on my Canon 600D camera and edited it on an iMac using Adobe CS6 (Premiere and After Effects). The music is a haunting piece of tango called Gretchen's Tango by Ergo Phizmiz. It goes really well with the mood and subject matter of Dan's film and I can recommend a visit to Ergo's website to discover more of his work.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Another Day Another Gimbal

Here's another gimbal I've just made. This one is better and much more compact. The outer square of this one is just 25mm in size.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gimbals Old and New

Keen readers of this blog will remember that back in 2007 I was trying to make my own camera stabiliser device. The centrepiece of most of these Steadicam-like mechanisms is known as a gimbal;  a special type of joint enabling very free rotational movement in 3 axes.

My 2007 efforts usually involved some skate bearings and plastic tubing of various types. Here are a couple of pictures from back in the day.

Well, much time passed and none of these attempts came to much and I eventually had to abandon the project. I would add my video camera to the top of these gimbals and have an outrageously spinning and certainly unstable result. Reading around the subject a lot, I realised that I just didn't have the patience and skills needed to accurately construct an adjustable top stage to centre the camera: an un-centred camera would twist and turn in a very alarming manner.

Well, Over the last couple of months, I have (probably foolishly) ventured back into the world of DIY camera stabilisation! Yes, I'm back at making gimbals. This time I'm mostly using square section aluminium tubing and some much smaller bearings. The results seem a lot more convincing this time...

Using smaller bearings leads to an entirely more compact design, because smaller axles and nuts can be used than previously. One huge advantage is that tiny bearings can sit tightly within the small holes (8mm) I can drill at home, so I can finally make 'bushes' to hold the bearings in position.

Using square section tubing rather than round  pieces makes it easier to drill more accurate holes, and these tend to be at 90 degrees to each other as they should be. Anyone who has ever tried drilling holes into the sides of circular tubes might appreciate this!

This overall construction is pretty small compared to my previous efforts; the outer square of this gimbal is only 50mm x 50mm in size.

Of course, this is a long way off from being a usable camera stabiliser, and work on some kind of top stage needs to come next...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

DIY Circular Camera Slider First Test

Here are some first test shots using a DIY Circular camera slider made from a 14 inch 'Lazy Susan' bearing. DSLR camera Canon 600D.

Conclusions... A much larger diameter bearing would be more useful, but this one could be quite handy for macro shots.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Jubilee Pageant

Here's a hastily assembled panoramic photo I took at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee river Pageant on Sunday. I turned up at London Bridge hoping to get some nice photos, but who would have thought that the authorities would block every possible access to the riverbank? I walked way down past Tower Bridge and this was the only bit of river frontage I could get to. Seems like this was an event for ticket holders, riverside property owners and corporate shindigs, not so much for regular punters hoping to turn up and take a look. All those miles of riverbank and none of it actually accessible to the tax-paying public... Ho hum...

Cat Fans Do: 'Simon's Cat' #05

Here's the fifth episode of the 'Cat Fans Do' series I've been editing for Simon's Cat Ltd. Artwork by the fans of Simon's Cat, narration by Simon Tofield, music by Russell Pay of