"Time and Time Again" Production Blog

Chronicling the production of the stop-motion animated short, "Time and Time Again" by Mike Bates. All images, characters, weird machines, etc, Copyright 2003-2007.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday Night Animation:

That big flood light above the camera will not show up in the final shot. I run two files in Frame Thief, one is for the final dark, dark lighting setup. The other is the same animation, just taken with the big light on so I can see what's going on! So I turn that big light on and off every shot. Dark brown on black? Kinda hard to make out.

That camera stand looks complicated, but it's really not. I just threw it together with a couple of L-brackets and washers from (where else?) OSH and some pieces of wood that were lying around. Bolting the camera to the set is awesome! I wish I could do it all the time! It can be hard to get the angle, but that camera is rock solid. And if you bump the set, the camera moves with it!

One thing I really like about stop-mo is easy bounce light. Just stick a card under there!

Note: Duck mouths on the floor.

The music? ELO, of course.

Nice to see some more updates. I'm really enjoying to read about your project. Looking forward to seeing it completed. The shots I've seen so far are really nice. Great facial animation. I am interested in your choice of camera - Did you choose it as a cost effective method of doing this in HD?
I've been shooting anims on my XL2... but the idea of shooting with a stills cam has me intrigued.
Thanks, Paul! I got the Canon S60 after my video camera's firewire conked out. It was going to cost a lot to fix it, so I decided just to get a new camera, and it wasn't much more for five megapixels! So, yes, it's got great higher-than-HD resolution, but I still have to match it to the regular ol' high quality video rez that I shot previously. But it's sure nice to have the option of HD. And it's also nice to know I can play with the image a little more, like cropping in closer if I want, and not lose resolution.

So all in all, now that I've used the Canon S60 for 15+ shots already, I would definitely recommend it for stop-motion. The remote capture software that comes with it is great, allowing me to save the images right on my hard drive through a usb cable. And it even has a little video-out jack, so I can use a frame grabber. (Which is Frame Thief currently, which requires another, separate, video-in into the computer.) The resolution for that video-out is a little low, but I think I've got a good work-around going. (Zooming in when I want to change a mouth or fine-tune a facial expression, then zooming back out for the shot.) Flicker was a little bit of an issue, but after a few shots, it kinda mellows out. I haven't noticed it a lot lately. But I kinda don't mind it for the old b/w film look I'm going for.
You, Mike are a certifiable baddass, mamma-jamma.
Keep crunchin out the quality luminocity and yummy collection of pixels.
I look forward to having a cup, shot, pint or tumbler with you soon!
Thanks for your comments Mike.

I wonder if you would be able to elaborate for me (and other readers) on the issue of "flicker"?

For instance... when you discuss "flicker" - what specifically are you referring to? What do you feel, in your experience, is the cause? and finally, what, going on your own understanding is the best way to kill it?

I have done a fair bit of model animation recently, and have noticed that when I do anything involving very fast looping actions (such as extended running shots) there is most certainly a visual "strobing" which occurs with the limbs... is this what you mean by "flicker"? or is it something I have yet to encounter?

I have been playing with some *very* low-tech gomotion to try and combat this "strobing" I've noticed... my initial experiments certainly smooth things out, however I am "gomotioning" the entire model rather than specific individual parts... so the results are less than satisfactory. However... it has made for an interesting experiment.

I am working on ways to use gomotion to eliminate strobing by forcing it to only affect certain important fast-moving parts of the puppet. (all, of course, on a no-budget currently).

Anyway... Your thoughts /enlightenments on the issue raised would be appreciated.

In the meantime, I wish you and the rest of your crew an excellent Holiday season.

Kind regards,

Wow, my jaw hit the floor like a certain clay duck's when I saw you had a still camera rigged for stop-motion. It makes perfect sense, but was surprising nonetheless. You happy with that camera outside of the claymation context, too? I'm shopping fer one...

Btw, "Wallace & Gromit"'s movie won the critics choice award over the Madagascar, Howl, etc. Sign of Oscar chances? Who knows :-)
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