"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, April 30, 2005

The Track-o-Rama.

Developed by Bruce Bates and Mike Jammal. Mad props. It's a tracking rig built on LGB track with little model train wheels. The coolest part is there is this threaded rod that runs down the middle that allows for absurdly small increments of movement.

The ramp up meter: a little pin keeps the handle from moving.

Galt practicing his "o" shapes.

Home-made kick stopper at the foot of the saw horse supporting the Track-o-Rama. (Formerly a support piece of the street set.) Gives one (1) level of bump protection. And yes, I've already kicked it quite a few times!

Monday, April 25, 2005

First footage from my new Canon S60 Digital camera. Turned out alright, I think! (The jpeggy stuff is because this clip is from a rough test render.)

Click here! It needs to load before playing. But it's small! About 1.3 megs.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

"So, you made the movie, and now you want to make it again?"
--Question posed to Edward D. Wood, Jr. in the Tim Burton bio-pic, Ed Wood.

Thanks to my Dad, I now have a digital camera to post images more regularly here! Hooray! So here's a batch to start things off right! Like the quote says, I'm gettin' ready to shoot a scene that I already partially shot, but this time... better!

First off I moved into this room, the same side room adjacent to the sound stage where Joe was working in this post. I moved here because I'm not using the motion control rig for the scenes I'm shooting next, and I wanted to free up the sound stage for other folks.

The new room is called: Scenery Storage.

It looks a little crowded in this picture, but really it's not so bad. Having everything close together makes it easier to reach all the buttons I need to push, and see the TV when I'm shooting. Pictured in photo:

-- The character Mr. Galt, whose face looks like a smudge!
-- The old timey video lunchbox I've switched to using.
-- My "WOW" War of the Worlds hat they gave me at WonderCon!
-- The TV monitor.

This photo includes the Track-O-Rama, for those fun tracking shots, and an electric tea kettle, for those fun cups of tea!

A close-up on the Lunchbox. I switched to this lunchbox because the old lunchboxes, with the "high resolution" feature, seem to give a more even representation of the picture (512x512) than the new lunchbox, which seems to only record on field at a time. (640x240) Pictured also are Galt's replacement mouths and other miscellaneous Galt paraphernalia.

Light and flag over Galt.

All lit up!

But my favorite part of the new location: The chicken picture.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

No, not dead. Sleeping. No, not sleeping. Patiently awating the drying of the sleeves on his new jacket.

The lab coat is there to make sure the sleeves are the right length.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I just ordered a digital still camera to shoot some of the next scenes of the film that don't use the motion-control rig. So while I wait for it to be shipped, I'm going to try to do as much planning for the next scene as I can. The next set I'm shooting on is the same set as the one in the trailer (the one in the giant dark office with the wall sconces). When I re-did the storyreel, I tried to make the drama play better. So, to match that, I will be trying to make all the compositions and lighting better, too.

Some planning thoughts:
-I want to use primarily set-based light sources, as opposed to imaginary off-screen ones. For instance, the most obvious light source will be from directly above, giving a harsh top light, and a large pool below. That's carried over from the original set design.

-I want to add some big posters between the wall sconces to give the office some character as well as subtle exposition. I've given it some thought and instead of cutting them out and affixing them to the set, I would like to use green screen instead. The plan is to place large green squares on to the set, then light them with a second pass. (like with the green circle in the last post.) This solves the problem of lighting a small square on the set, but it also allows me do some subtle backlighting of the posters, sort of giving them the look of movie posters at the theater, lit from behind, giving a nice eerie glow.

- So now to fill out the shadows under that harsh top light, there can be:
-soft (and maybe a little hard) side light from the sconces
-very soft side light from the posters

-I love the lighting in both the Godfather and the new Sin City. But I want to be careful I don't copy them directly, I want to create a unique look. I'm looking at some great Film Noir books that have some great stills from the films. There is a great variety of dramatic lighting that doesn't have to be always:

-Lit from directly above and underexposed,
(like the Don's scenes in the Godfather.)
Although I do like that mid-tone range it creates.
-Lit directly from both sides with hard light,
creating a big shadow in the middle of the face.
(which is the great look of Sin City!)

So in conclusion, it's time to get creative!

Friday, April 01, 2005

A g-g-g-Gargon!?!

Spooky! A terrifying Gargon must have visited the set while shooting these frames.

The green circle is a fine example of how to use green screen to elminate needless set modification. (No extra sawing, measuring, sweating...) I put these circles here to have light showing through these doors, when really there is a solid wall (covered with tile, no less!) behind it. I take a seperate pass of the same shot, lit bright and even, so the green will register. Then in Final Cut Pro, I remove the green with the nifty Chroma Key filter. Then inside the hole the filter creates, I will probabaly place a nice ultra bright light glaring through into the dimly lit room. Who knows, maybe I'll stick a Gargon behind those windows!


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