Four Houses Set Layout

I’ve not had much time lately, as I mentioned in my last stopmotion post. This afternoon, I had a large chunk of time. To start, I built my fourth house:

9 House Part 4

I wanted to use some of the more interesting roof tile pieces, so I started by building the roof from the top down. Then I built the walls from the bottom up. I then had to do a fair amount of fiddling to get the two to line up, but I’m happy with the result.

Next, I started to work on layouts for the set. The houses are missing pieces on various walls, based on where I thought the camera would be, so that I could conserve my Lego bricks for more houses. This means that each house can only go in one position. That means less flexibility with the set layout, but that also means less alternatives for me to agonise over.

I came up with two major layouts, based on the orientation of the grey Lego board. First, the square layout:

9 Square Layout

And the view from the actor’s height:

9 Square Actor View

The curved layout is my favourite, though:

9 Curved Layout

And the actor’s view:

9 Curved Actor View

The square view seems to be a little more realistic, especially looking at the houses where I live. On the other hand, the curving in of the houses frames the main part of the set better, and there is less emphasis on the blank space at the far end of the set.

I also tried a slightly higher shot on a whim, and will probably use this camera angle for the final film:

9 Shooting Angle

The extra height will give a better view of the action, but it’s still low enough to feel part of the panic and not see the rooftops.

The next question is whether to build six houses, like my original draft plan. I’m a little low on Lego bricks to build full houses, but they’ll be far enough away from the main camera position that the rear half of the final two houses won’t be seen. I may not have enough actors/extras for that many houses, and having more actors may clutter up the scene too much. Too much movement is also exponentially more effort when shooting.

I also want to have more props/scenery to smooth out the square angles between the flat ground and the vertical walls. The best way to describe it is to look at a paddock/field with the occasional tree, then look at a similar paddock/field with a few bushes around the base of the trees. The first scenario has the same stark contrast as the set pictures above.

After I’m happy with the set, I’ll move on to the other steps I mentioned a few posts ago, like the spider’s movement.

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