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!