Planning the Next Scenes

I have to apologize for taking such a long hiatus from the blog (and from the film!).  I was kind of shocked to see that it’s been so long since I’ve last posted.

It’s been a stressful summer, though when I try to explain, it will seem like I am blaming the weather for my lack of posts.  Let’s just say there has been a LOT of rain in Toronto, which has lead to a flooded basement, a constantly flooding studio (no damage though, thankfully… just lots of mud), and some very expensive and stressful house repairs and renovations.  So now, several months later, the rainy days may continue, but we now have a new, clean, dry, mold-free basement, complete with weeping tiles and sump pumps (which I now know more about than I ever wanted to know), and a dry, mud-free studio.  The studio was the last area to undergo repairs, and we haven’t had quite enough rain in the past week to test out the new weeping tile drainage system, so fingers crossed that it all works.  This is the 3rd attempt to repair the water problems in the backyard; hopefully this latest attempt will be the final one!

In order to pay for the construction, I’ve been working my butt off… it’s been great to be working in design again, though I definitely miss working on this little film.

Anyway, I have a couple more big projects to finish up in the next few weeks, and then I will be getting back to the film for a while.


Between all of this working and dealing with floods and renos, I have some planning for the next sequence of shots for the film.  Marcus and I discussed the action following the previous scenes, and I think he’s come up with some interesting ideas for camera angles here.  The character actions themselves seemed hard to make interesting, so I am glad the camera will add some extra energy to it.

There are two versions of the same sequence of actions, each with their own camera angles.  Here they are (not yet lit properly):

Version 1:

Sabela stands, ponderously holding cabbage.

Cut to a low camera angle, scraping the sides of the cabinets.  Sabela drags a stool out from beneath the counter, places the cabbage on top, and walks towards the stove, carrying the stool with the cabbage wobbling as she walks.

Cut to side shot of the cabinet.  Camera racks focus from foreground objects to behind the pot, as Sabela plops the cabbage down on the stove, and then climbs into view.

Cut to front of cabinet, medium side view of Sabela.  She is kneeling on the stool, getting ready to cut the leaves of cabbage.

Sabela is looking over the pot, cutting leaves, which fall in.  Text appears to her right.


Version 2:

Sabela reacts to cabbage, picks up stool, walks over to stove, throws cabbage onto stove, all in one continuous shot.  The camera pans right and tilts up as she moves across the stage.

Side view of Sabela as she climbs up onto the stool.

Sabela continues to climb up on the stool and cuts the leaves of cabbage into the pot.

I prefer the first version, for a few reasons:  I like the low camera angle, which brings us to Sabela’s height, so we can see her view of the kitchen; also I like the idea of racking focus across the countertop.

I put together a couple of rough animatics, using these camera angles (though it’s a different camera, so the angles are approximate).  This gives me a sense of the timing and pacing of the sequence.

Versions 1:

And, Version 2:

P.S. Huge thanks again to Shelley for sending such a sweet little package of Gel Water in the mail.  I’ll be using the water and bubbles soon, once we look into the soup pot, a couple scenes down the road.

(Now this is the sort of water I welcome into the home 🙂

9 thoughts on “Planning the Next Scenes

  1. Shelley Noble

    Goodness, Stefanie. I give you HUGE credit for persisting through the trials of your summer. What you describe would try the mettle of anyone and drive them to drink. Kudos to you. I adore the way you’ve sketched the scene action with the puppet on the dressed set with gorgeous props, etc. (The video clips were marked private unfortunately for me) But I can tell they are incredible. I can even imagine your polished, finished film from seeing just these sketches.

    You are more than welcome for the gel and since I sent it…

    FYI: Important Water Gel/”slow water” Update. Our friend, Mike Brent: Darkstrider: discovered a possibly better material for this, Quake Gel by Ready America. It’s clear and stiffer. It depends on uses. If one wanted to animate pouring the water, his Quake Museum Gel might be superior. But, in case of the boiling cabbage soup, a boiling water pot with bead bubbles, the softer toy gel might give better fluidity?

    Professional animator, Nick Hilligoss, used the toy gel the other day, the same sort sent to you, to great effect in the final toast in his Homage to Bergman clip…

    Quake Gel link:

  2. stephanie dudley

    Thanks for the gel water info — and wow, Nick’s homage to Bergman is AMAZING… hopefully i can find these gels somewhere to do some tests — I have a feeling it will take some experimentation, as I also have to test that it doesn’t interfere with the look of the cabbage leaves too much… but you have given me much to go on here for starters.

    To anyone who has tried to visit the blog in the last 4 hours… I have just recovered from a minor heart attack. Somehow I just ( SO stupidly!!!) deleted this ENTIRE BLOG while trying to upgrade WordPress — but as you can see, it’s been recovered. THANK YE, GODS OF THE INTERWEB. I am from this day forward going to archive, archive, archive…

  3. rich

    awesome. I like the rack focus. 🙂 Sorry to hear about your flood. glad to hear your back in action in a few weeks!

  4. justin rasch

    very cool approach to the animatics!

    Its way faster than the way I do it and much more realistic for how your shots will look.

    its all looking fantastic.


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