Thursday, 26 October 2006

Spookys filmed. 1. The Shooting!

Now we get to the shooting stage! starting in the chilly darkness of the Old Civic theatre.

The DOP stuff i loved doing and was what i was looking forward to the most. (photography has long been another love of mine) but i had no idea of the technical side of it. i ended up using 4 desk lamps with coloured cellophane taped to each, despite having access to Seymour (Davison)'s coloured gels. i'd spend ages getting the look perfect, taking up to three hours at the longest, to compose and light each scene. In the bg on the stage, you can see the Pierce's Medusa set.

And then me with a warm hat. might have looked goofy, but it made me feel fuzzy happy, very important. Because by this time after building everything, which took so much energy to get started for each new set, and took a good while to complete each set, the end point was still very far off. I began to animate, but i wasn't even halfway there yet. very hard when you've already been going at it 7 days a week for more than three months.

In the beginning, when i was flip flopping around with the lighting having no idea where to start, Pierce got one of his crew, Steve Cottingham, who was a pro DOP, to get me a started with the shot on the left. I told him what the scene was, and with what i had been stuffing around with for ages, in a matter of a few minutes, he lit it....and it was perfect. i suddenly realised the value of finding a worker who's good. there are people who can do the work. and then there are people who can do the work like you want. Just like here, I stepped back and looked at the scene, and for once! I didn't have to tweak anything! it was perfect first time round.

Early on, I realised how much I hate animating. I'm good at it, and I love to watch good Animation, but the actual process of animating, I was, and still am way too impatient. it's slow and not fun. So I found myself animating my shots pretty fast (Ransis and Alee was being shot at the same time and I whipped their arses).

After completing the first half of the film, it was time to move, I re-set up everything in my home lounge room, fortunate that my parents were on holidays for a couple of months. Another
cool person i met via Pierce, was Shannon Spiers. who had a very nice dark style of photography and she helped me experiment with the mice cult scenes.
And one day there was an interesting shadow on the wall that we thought looked like a Mister fox. hmm, premonition for a future story i think....

In the thick of the animation, having to work through the continuous weeks of not being able to see the end point, the worst is after the halfway point. Having burnt out many times already, and going at it quite hard for what felt like an eternity to get this far....and then knowing there is still the whole other half to go. Finishing is still SO far away.

Sometimes having to keep going til the wee hours of the morning, so as to not leave a hot set and shot half done. After weeks of working day and night, mostly solitary, getting through the animation one long shot after another, it's a very, very, long slog. There were many times that i felt.....well that photo on the right, alone, cold and blue. "Why couldn't I just be a good daughter and listen to my parents ie choose accounting (or other good paying, secure profession) study hard graduate and work. in my case, as a science graduate, and be happy with that?"

In the last third of the shooting, Serena came here and there to do post work on my shots on computer as I finished animating them. There were strings to take out of shots where things flew, and for that paper plane shot, there were three strings to be held up. Very amusing and difficult to balance the two on a plane suspended by strings. I've actually got video footage somewhere of the difficulty of the flying shots.

Now it got easy (after all my shots were done). I felt so good that I ended up reshooting the first shot of Brownie's room due to one of the picture frames in shot that i had glued on sideways by mistake.


Jo-Ann said...

Heya Rose,

This stuff is awesome. I would have thought you were too weary to take photos but I'm glad you did, because it is a very good behind the scenes look at Spooky Doll Kids.


Leedrick said...

I agree, the photos and the insight are really interesting.

It will be great after watching the film to come back and read the detail on what you went through for each shot.

Keep it up!

Timothy Merks said...

wow! You're right I havent even seen half this stuff.

It's great that you are telling your moods and feelings throughout production. I think this is something that people always gloss over.

Keep it up

Anonymous said...

So... will you do it all again!?? All that work was worth it in the end - its one of my favorite stop motion animations!WELL DONE! Will there be a similar blog for Porcelain? Something like: "Today my producer, Yvette yelled at us. She wants us to hurry up and finish. She is scarey!" hee hee!