Showing posts with label stop motion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stop motion. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

TfL Promo Behind The Scenes Video

Here's a sweet little 'Making Of' documentary that Gemma Hogg put together for the Transport for London team whilst we were working on their 'Start Your Own Journey' promo film. The above video features interviews with TANDEM producer Emma Burch, and the two Directors, Tobias Fouracre and some other guy...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Transport for London Film Released

I mostly use this blog to document my personal film-making endeavours, so there is normally much to read here about cameras, tests, super 8 and generally experimental film-making stuff.

I don't usually write quite so much here about my 'day job', working on commercials and promo films etc. For reasons of commercial and client confidentiality it isn't always possible to write about the things I've been working on. However, a short promotional film I co-directed with Tobias Fouracre a couple of months ago at TANDEM films has just been put online by the client, so I feel happy to embed a YouTube link to it here.

'Start Your Own Journey' is a short minute and a half film commissioned by Transport for London to introduce and promote the latest version of the website. The TfL site is well-known to Londoners who use the site to plan their journeys around the capital. The team at TfL have been working hard to release an updated and improved version of the site so asked us to come up with an entertaining short film to highlight some of the main features on offer.

This film was shot in TANDEM's basement studio using A Canon DSLR camera and DragonFrame stop-motion software running on an iMac. Almost all of the 'travelling' shots you see in this film were realised by moving models towards a stationary camera to create the illusion of a continual journey. Tobias came up with the main concept of shooting the film from the first-person perspective of a traveller undertaking a journey through London. I helped out a bit on some model preparation and shooting, but my job was mainly integrating the client's website functionality throughout the film and compositing the piece to make a seamless film.

We fortunately had the services of Gordon Allen for the model-making and the very versatile help of Nicola Viargiu who greatly assisted us at all stages of the production. The music and effects for the film were created by Russell Pay of Shrooty. The producer for TANDEM was Emma Burch.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Some Maths For Animators

Here's a little real word maths problem that's just come my way...

A stop motion animator is moving something on set by 25mm for each frame taken to create movement at a steady speed. Over the next 20 frames he wishes the movement to decelerate smoothly until a rate of 10mm per increment is achieved.
Calculate the distance the object is to be moved for each of the 20 inbetween increment positions to achieve a smooth deceleration.

Well, it's taken me a few hours over this Bank Holiday weekend, but I think I've worked out the solution for this in time for tomorrow's shoot. I've drawn on some school maths and a few Excel spreadsheet tutorials, but I've knocked up a calculator that can figure this out. i.e. Calculate the in-beteweens and print out charts (to scale) for the animator to use as fairing rulers on set. The sine wave based equation I've developed, spits out these figures for the increments.

Maybe this graph looks pretty, but it wont help the animator too much...

I've then added another column to the spreadsheet to aggregate these figures and give the actual (cumulative) measurements in mm.

I eventually found that Excel's 'Scatter Graph' could be formatted to give something like a useful chart, which when printed to the correct scale can be used on-set as a useful ruler.

So this is very basic stuff for anyone involved in the science of Motion Control, but I offer it here in the hope this might come in handy for anyone (like me) needing to work this out for themselves.

Oh, and the answer to the question is...
25, 24.9, 24.6, 24.2, 23.6, 22.8,21.9, 20.9, 19.8, 18.7, 17.5, 16.3, 15.2, 14.1, 13.1, 12.2, 11.4, 10.8, 10.4, 10.1, 10.0 (mm)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Déjà Vu All Over Again...

I was browsing in the Enfield branch of Waterstones yesterday and saw this new novel 'This Book is Full Of Spiders (Seriously Dude Don't Touch It). Something about that cover artwork gave me a distinct frisson of 'hold on a moment, I think I've seen something a bit like that before...'

Yep, those spiders made out of book pages, don't they look a bit like the ones I made and animated for the 'Little Hands Clapping' promo film I created for Canongate Books back in 2011?

You can watch my 2011 Little Hands Clapping film for Canongate here if you like.

I like to think I made my little paper spiders with some ingenuity. Here's how I went about creating them and getting them to move...

1: I first drew a short cycle of Flash animation to create a guide animation to figure out the legs moving correctly. I worked out that a walk cycle could be made using nine different poses of the spider.

2: I imported the guide animation into After Effects and used the Path Text to get the writing to run along along the legs (I used passages from Dan Rhodes novel of course).

3: I printed out my sequence of spiders onto thin card.

4: I cut out the printed spiders and folded them a bit to get a more 3D design.

5: I shot the stop-motion animation of my paper spiders using a replacement animation technique to get the scuttling action. I figured that it would be easier to replace the whole spider model each frame rather than trying to bend and shape eight fiddly little paper spider legs! I shot all of the animation using StopMotionPro software and found the previewing features invaluable for positioning the replacements accurately.

It's entirely possible that the artists, photographer and publishing staff working on 'This Book is Full Of Spiders...' never saw my Little Hands Clapping film. Even if they did, I think that people who design and make things for a living are to some extent often drawing on things they may have seen before. My 'Little Hands Clapping' film certainly has a rather Tim Burton-esque vibe to it; this wasn't a concious lift on my part; it just seemed to result from the black humour of the subject matter and the stop-frame aesthetic. Maybe we all tend to see things and add bits of what we've seen into our own ideas and work.

I made another book trailer film for Canongate in 2011. 'Our Tragic Universe' was a very different kind of novel. I really enjoyed making these book trailer films and would certainly welcome the chance to make more in the future.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Student animation from Alghero

A couple of posts ago I mentioned my December trip to Alghero Sardinia to host some animation workshops for the Masters Students there. I've just seen that the short films made by the students have been posted on to YouTube, so you can see them here. With only three days, the 20 students split up into 4 groups, spending about a day on each project; they turned in some really interesting and experimental work.

To the students from this workshop and the staff of the University too for making my stay both enjoyable and inspirational... Grazie mille!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TANDEM Vimeo Channel Launch

TANDEM Films (the studio I mostly work for) has just joined Vimeo. The first couple of films up are some behind the scenes 'making of' time-lapses I shot/edited back in the day...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Coming Soon ... Microfilm


Over the Christmas/New Year I got some time off from my work at TANDEM. I wanted to make another short film but this time something more 'experimental' and shorter than some of my previous efforts. I'd like to use the macro photography techniques I've been playing around with for a while. The film will feature extreme close-up views of common household objects.

I've been using my Canon 600D DSLR camera coupled with an old Pentax M42 mount 50mm lens and some extension tubes to get very tight close-up shots; most of the action takes place within a field of view around 1 centimetre wide. Getting really close to the subject seems to lend itself well to abstraction and a really wobbly and lively film.

The results are certainly wobbly and lively, so for the soundtrack I'm cutting my picture to sync up with some splendidly retro 1970s era library music I picked up recently.

It looks like this will be a little one minute piece, the working title is Microfilm. Watch this space...