Lights, Camera… planning?

Non-blog activities have occupied my time a little since my last stopmotion post, mostly my shiny new laptop and increasing amounts of client work. I have been Getting Things Done on the Stop Motion front, but mostly experiments and planning.

Lights are a challenge! I can keep the light steady between frames, but I am having trouble getting the right number and angle of lights to get that professional finish I’m looking for. I read about 3-point lighting on Wikipedia, which was interesting, and promptly tried it with the ceiling light and two lamps. The results were underwhelming. I even tried it with just the two lamps. I suspect I’m using the wrong lights, but will try to find some experts to consult.

I also tested the fancy camera I mentioned in my last post. Hurrah, it works! I have had a lot of fun playing around with focusing and aperture width. It is surprising how out-of-focus things are when only 2 inches behind the main character. I will have to experiment more, but I am very pleased that it works.

I also bought more Lego:

5 Extras and props

I’ve spent a lot of time brainstorming my next film with Katie. I had originally thought to make it a surprise, but it’s going to take me a while and a more detailed chronicle of my progress might be helpful and/or interesting to other people.

The current working title is “Attack of the Giant Spider” (or “My B-grade Movie”) and was obviously inspired by the awesome Lego spider. I’ll create a film of a spider on a rampage through a suburban street, complete with a view from the spider’s eyes, fleeing people, mayhem, destruction, etc.

There will be a few challenges:

  • Moving the spider realistically. This is almost a film’s worth of effort in itself, but thankfully almost all of the joints don’t move freely, so the spider will stay put between shots. I will use the ‘rotoscope‘ feature of Stop Motion Pro, which moves frame-by-frame through a video of your choosing as you take each frame of your stop motion movie. A fantastic way to copy the movement. I’ll do a mini-movie of the spider only, based on a rotoscope of a youtube video, then use the mini-movie when shooting the final film (which will have other actors/extras for me to worry about!).
  • The set, including making sure the size, spacing and background look good.
  • Planning shots/angles/movement with multiple actors.
  • Lighting, particularly keeping it consistent across multiple shooting sessions.

The next step is working on the size and layout of the set. No, I didn’t write “playing with my Lego”, honest. Then I can work on storyboarding, and then rotoscoping the spider.

I’ll post updates as I go. Wish me luck!

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One Response to Lights, Camera… planning?

  1. Pingback: Set Experiment | Ben's Bucket Blog

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