Category Archives: Progress Report

Full Circle

Well, I shot the LAST frame of the film today.  There is still more to shoot, but just elements — text, transitions, that sort of thing.  But the main stuff is DONE!  Or in the can, as they say.

I didn’t really realize it til I was actually shooting it, but the final scene ends right where the first scene that I shot began!  It’s like I knew what I was doing or something.  Haha.   Here’s to seamless transitions!

I’m VERY happy with everything, every scene that was shot.  I have so much more to do, and time is running out, but I will try to keep things updated a little better here throughout the post production process.  At least I’ll be at my computer all day, every day, again!  It’s been a while since I’ve done loads of straight “computer work.”  It’s a very familiar headspace for me though, so it should be one of those easy yet labour-intensive processes.  If that makes sense.  (Three minutes of film is a *lot* to finesse.)

So, here’s the setup of the final scene, which was shot with oils on paper, with projected images.  It was sort of hard to document this setup, but the gist is that there’s a projector hooked up to a computer, and a camera hooked up to another computer — one computer projects the image, then I paint it, then I turn the projector off, then I take the photo.  It took about a month to shoot this section, which was just over 33 seconds long.  Whew!

There’s something being projected into my hair…

Minimal setup — just 2 lights…

Oooh, spooky!  Here’s the final image projected on…

And here’s a snippet of the animation!  This is totally work in progress, pre colour-correction, etc.

Now, I head straight into post production!  OK with maybe a little celebrating in between.  🙂

Very Quick Update

Oh dear, I haven’t updated in a LONG time.  This summer is flying by.

I’m still working away on the film.  I’m currently 2/3 of the way through my 30-second 2D / 3D sequence.  The technique here is similar to the oil-on-glass technique of 2D animation, but I’m using something I did in 3DS Max as a reference, projecting it onto my “glass” (I’m using acrylic-coated paper) and rotoscoping.   An experiment for me, since I’ve never really done traditional 2D animation (thus the rotoscoping!) but it’s actually going pretty well.

I will post pictures of this setup soon…

There are only 2 more months left in my film schedule.  In this time, I have to finish shooting the oil paint elements, shoot some transitions and text elements (going to shoot these rather than After-Effects them — a recent decision, but I think it’ll look much better!)… compositing and rig removal (thankfully have some help with this though),  editing… title sequences… initial colour correction with Marcus and then hopefully with an in-suite colourist…  sound recording in Montreal (whee!), followed by sound design here in Toronto, and then… loads of finishing touches, I guess!

I will keep you posted more frequently as time permits!  :)  Due date to Bravo!:  October 1st…

Hard to Believe

It’s hard to believe,  but I am finished shooting the puppet / 3D set scenes.  Finished, after almost two years of working (on and off) on these scenes.  This is a big relief, as these shoots seemed like the hardest part of the filmmaking process, with all their unknowns… but of course I also feel a bit sad, as I do enjoy the process so much. Earlier this week I said goodbye to the puppets, and all my rented & borrowed equipment.

So since I last posted here, I have shot over a minute of cabbage shots, as well as the final three scenes, which involve the family of puppets sitting at a dining room table.  For the final scene, I rented a 3 foot linear bed from Whites, which allowed for a zoom out.  Let me tell you, these things are *amazing…*  There are so many possibilities to introduce smooth, easy camera moves with these things.  So easy to use — this one was perfectly smooth-sliding yet immovable once fixed — and easy to animate, as there’s a handy aluminum strip that my ruler measurements fit perfectly onto, and the little rubber stopper bit provided just the right vertical marker.  Marcus suggested a few other possibilities for this contraption, like of course dollying through a shot sideways, either hanging the bed and camera from the ceiling and flying through, or… or… well the possibilities are endless.  Camera moves are exciting!

Here’s a little video of me playing around with it…

Here is what went on behind the scenes.  I’ll do up a little post on the lighting setup when I get the chance.

This is the way I animated the camera — made a ruler in photoshop, complete with eases in and out…

Also had to animate most of the practical lights, dimming out at the end.  So their dimmers had circular rulers as well.  The notebook was to keep track of what I needed to animate — it was easy to get confused!

And finally, here is the precious, dear equipment that I had to return…  I’ll miss you, dedo kit with projection lens, and you too, my newfound friend, the 3 foot linear bed… sniff, sniff.  Maybe one day we’ll meet again…

The final scene —

So in terms of my progress:  all 3D stop motion scenes, including cabbage scenes, are done.  Next up:  opening titles, which will also be shot stop mo, and then I’m onto my 2D / 3D ink painting effects…  This week I build yet another miniature set for the opening titles.  Hopefully it’ll turn out the way I’m picturing it; I’ve had a couple false starts so far, but I think my current idea will work.

Progress Report: February

So, now that my goal is to motor through the film shot by shot and get it done (but without rushing it, of course), I’m going to publicly declare my progress here, to keep myself motivated and to assess where I’m at.

I have a new deadline now, and it’s one that I have to stick to.  The kind people at Bravo!FACT have given me an extension, and now my deadline is October 1st, 2010.  That is 7 months away.  It sounds far off, but I think it will be a perfect amount of time to get everything done, if I stay focused, and ask for a bit of help here and there.

I’ve divided the film into sections, to make it more manageable, and to help myself keep up with a steady, manageable pace.  Each month I have to complete one section of the film.  There are a total of 27 shots.  Here’s how I’ve broken them up:


My Feb goal was to complete the section where Sabela is introduced, and the cabbage gets put into the soup pot.  This section consists of 8 scenes:  scenes 13-20.  So far I’ve shot 6/8.  (Three of them were shot last year.)  The next shot — scene 18 — is prepped and will be finished off today.  I’m a little behind, in that the final scene of this section will take some time to plan…  but that’s not a big deal, as I’m also a little ahead on my March goals.


In March I plan to shoot scenes 21-24.  These will require new props to be built, as the sequence consists of overhead shots of the cabbage soup pot.  I need to be able to show boiling water, with cabbage leaves floating around in them.   My current little stovetop pot is made of copper pipe, so its diametre is only about 1 1/4 inches… not enough room to animate in.  So I’ll need to build a new, larger set for these scenes — well, just a larger version of the pot, stovetop, and countertop.  AND I’ll need to experiment with Mike Brent’s and Shelley Noble’s advice regarding animated “water.”


This month I’ll work on scenes 2-7.  In these six scenes, not too much happens — just a lot of intricate closeups of the cabbage and set, which will alow for some space for graphics.  This will be a time to heavily experiment with lighting and camera work, because the scenes will be so minimal (compared to the kitchen scenes I’m shooting now.)


May will be the month I will fear and sweat over.  I will need to animate not one, but FOUR characters, AND animate a new “set” coming on to the stage.  These are the scenes where we introduce Sabela’s family, who are seated in the dining room.  Scenes 25-27.


At this point I can return all my rented equipment!  Hurray.  Now all the animation switches over to some more experimental techniques that I have in mind.  (Well, they are experimental for me.  They have probably been done before.)   They involve some ink and a projector, and that’s all I’ll say for now :)  These are scenes 8-12.


July will be more of the ink / experimental animation, plus some compositing, stabilization and tracking, rig removal, etc.


This month will be time to design and composite all the graphics.  Remember, the film is based on a Galician poem, so there will be many words to incorporate visually, to help translate the poem.  Also, this month I’ll work on the title graphics and title animation, which I’ve counted as Scene 1.


September will be time to record audio, and finish any last post-production things.  There is a bit of padding here; I don’t think the audio sessions will take a month or anything… but I will probably need extra time for things I’ve left out, or underestimated the timing of.

October 1st:

Send everything off to Bravo!FACT!

And celebrate!

And tell everyone when it will be on TV!

By the way, I am REALLY happy with how my walk cycle shot turned out — the one with the tilt shift lens — and my little closeup that I showed the lighting for, below.  My dilemma now is… how much of the film should I show?  I would like to keep some mystery to the final film, and not just show it shot by shot!  I’m sure Bravo would not be thrilled with that, either.  PLUS the shots I’m showing are unfinished and rough.  Not sure yet.  What do you think?…  (Though to be honest there are only about five people reading this blog… hi Shelley and mom!  😉

I joke.)

I’m very happy ALL you guys are reading, BTW!  🙂