Groovy New Clothes and Dolly.

I don’t know what it is about the holidays — the non-stop eating, visiting, socializing, languishing in PJs til noon every day, or what, but it’s been extremely hard to get my butt back in gear this past week or so.  Not so long ago I used to get up at 6 or 7 am and work pretty hard all day, getting lots done, and feeling pretty accomplished.  Lately I’ve been dragging myself out of bed no earlier than 10:00, and my brain does not wake up fully until later in the afternoon.  The simplest of tasks takes three times longer than usual.  I feel like I’m in a bit of a daze.

I’m hoping to get back to my usual schedule and frame of mind soon.  It’s been a very sad week — we found out that our cat, Nova, has lymphoma.   Her health has been slowly deteriorating, and there’s not much we can do other than try and keep her comfy and give her lots of TLC.

In film-related news, here’s what’s been happening:

Alli has finished two of the puppets’ clothes.  Here’s what Sabela’s mom and dad are looking like:

So this is Liberdade and Xosé Luís, clothed in their 70s-inspired grooviness.  I’m particularly fond of the velvet pants on Xosé Luís — I could not stop laughing when I first saw him in his outfit, he was just so adorable.

These guys will be sitting, along with Sabela and her sister Abigail, at the dining room table in the final scenes of the film.

So that’s what’s happening with the puppets.  There’s also been lots of rigging and planning going on for the upcoming couple of shots.  Marcus has spent hours and hours building dolly tracks and rigging his 3-way geared head with scales for tilts and pans…

The tilt scale, above.

The base of the geared head, with rigging for the pan scale.

Here’s the pan scale, which is sandwiched between the head and the dolly.

The dolly, with geared head attached.  Marcus built this mostly of plywood, with a box housing the geared head that slides on two 5/8″ aluminum rods.  The rods are slightly bendy, which isn’t a problem with this shot, but may be later on.  The dolly is strapped onto the arm of our studio stand, extending beyond the arm into a diving board, which has been stabilized by several 2x4s screwed into the floor.

The next scene of the film involves a track back with the camera, which uses the entire length of the dolly.  The setup for this shot takes up most of the studio, so it’s hard to capture on camera, but here’s a glimpse of what it looked like a couple of days ago.  It’s 99% done, so once it’s done, I’d like to figure out what Marcus is doing here.  There are about 10 lights, and 20 little cards scattered everywhere on grip stands, either flagging or bouncing light.  I’ll take a series of pictures, trying to capture the setup, and draw out a diagram / map of what each element is doing, as best I can, in my next post.

This setup was complex — this is a continuation of the previous shot, looking over Sabela’s shoulder, towards the opposite side of the window.  We see a reflection of her face, as well as the theatre set in the window, and some sparkly stars beyond the window.  Lining up these three planes for the camera was quite a task…  this setup has taken close to a week to do.

The little window opens up via a piano hinge, so that I’ll have access to Sabela (who’s standing behind the window) while animating.  The last shot was difficult, because she was standing so close to the window, and surrounded by gear, so I couldn’t access her face at all to add her eyelids when she blinked.  I had to reach delicately through a forest of arms and cables and lights to blindly place her tiny eyelids.  I was so scared I would drop them into her dress, or somewhere that would be unretrievable!  But thankfully it worked out OK.

(This image is taken with the house lights on — I’ll have some pretty “lighting” shots with the next post…)

We also had great news about our lighting and equipment rental, which we’ve been given a huge break on — thanks, Dan at White’s!

0 thoughts on “Groovy New Clothes and Dolly.

  1. Shelley Noble

    Fantastic clothes! Those characters look sublimely detailed, funny and lovable!

    The dolly and it’s rigged scales, etc. is drool worthy and I would give a lot to see the brilliantly crafted lighted set up diagram! Holy cow.

  2. Shelley Noble

    um, guess I’m not awake yet either. LIGHTING set up, kill worthy.

    By the way, how you describe your meandering 10 am days of late… yeah, that’s been my life! How’s it feel?! lol. Welcome to my sluggish, low-achieving world. hee. xoxo

  3. stephanie dudley

    Oh, Shelley! It felt pretty great for a while! Most creative people I know are late-starters, with their best creative thinking happening in the evening… Somehow for me I’ve always functioned best in the morning. If I sleep in, then I kinda miss that golden time of day where I’m actually the most creative and alert. By the end of the day I’m toast.

    But today I woke up at 7:30! Yay! I can feel a productive day coming on, which is great, since I have so much to do.

    I’ll definitely do the best I can with documenting the lighting setup — trying to think of how I’m going to do it, but I think it can be done, with the stitching together of many many photos. I’ll have to wait til I’ve finished the shot, though, in case I bung anything up while sneaking in there to make the panorama (clumsy!)

  4. PAT

    Hey Steph!
    The puppets look great ! Awesome outfits-
    they look like actors from a french 70’s flic!
    I’m really sorry to hear about Nova.
    I’m sure the Dolce Vita kitty bed is helping
    her out. I’ve been somewhat sluggish lately myself. I think it’s just a bit hard to get
    back into the intense routine after a break,
    but it sounds like you’re up’n’at’em again

  5. stephanie dudley

    Hey Pat, Thanks!

    I meant to write you… and will do so soon… the cat bed is AWESOME, she loves it. Your place looks so pretty out there; I’m envious of your Ukrainian Xmas night with the animals! Sounds so magical!

  6. Erin

    hi stephanie! great to see your progresses here… ! i wonder if you wd mind if i asked anansi to put a link to your blog here on the page on their site for Little Theatres… what do you think?

    sorry to hear about your cat. :(.

    and… one more comment… it’s hard to get up early in the dead of winter! an inertia sets into the human body after so much darkness… it gets better!