Sunday, September 22, 2013

Which Direction Captain?

Take a look at what's being done behind the scenes. Rubles foam puppet has been created, the set patched up - and lots of other new developments.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dragonframe Check List Ahoy!

Over the past two days I've re-set up our Defiance ship, roughly lit it and plopped our old puppet Ruble into the scene. Yes, he is missing his mustache. He's also a bit melted from the heat of our last garage, not to mention animation damage - so he's in really poor shape.

That's ok because what I did here was use Ruble to set up our new Canon 60D and Dragonframe (now version 3.5) and create a new shot check list. Before each animated shot you create, check lists help you to remember all your camera and software settings. Have you ever accidentally used your camera with the auto exposure set to "Yes"? If so, you're in a world of trouble. The entire color of your scene will vary depending on what your camera senses. So you definitely need a check list or hours of work can go to waste!

One thing I discovered is that you can set your exposure many different ways in the camera itself. From florescent, tungsten, full sun etc. I set it to tungsten for the frame I took above in the camera. However each time I took a test frame, it first reverted to "Auto Exposure" and then took a frame. Not good! Then I realized Dragon took over this setting because it needs to be set in Dragons camera settings.

There were many things to jot down. Even Dragons web site has a check list, but it's all out of proper order according to the menu screen you see on your camera. You can't even use batteries when using the AC adapter because it goes into the battery compartment. So re-organizing and removing the incorrect info is was what I started with.

Each camera and system will be a little different. So if you're new to stop motion, make check lists even if all you have is a web camera. You won't regret it!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Capture System!!!

Previously I wrote about the tools I used to capture Zombie Pirate Tales. The video lunchbox was a really antiquated setup, but worked just fine. However my Olympus camera isn't working quite right. In fact it has been fixed twice. Once for a burnt CCD and once for my cat breaking the LCD screen when the cord was plugged into my computer. My son scared him and in his flurry of fear he ran through the cord and the camera smashed on the large microphone I use to do our live shows each week.

As I mentioned in the post before this, the client I spoke with was very eager to get started on a particular job and just couldn't come up with the funds. Wanting to prepare for the job I took a gamble and bought the new system because I really wanted the project to shine. If there's money given to me, I never want it to go to waste. And if I used the old Olympus, I wouldn't feel right accepting money when other studios have much nicer equipment.

So, I bought this new system. It consists of a Mac Mini with a 500 gig hard drive. A 20+ inch monitor, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse and a copy of Dragonframe 3 software. A bad financial move? Temporarily yes, however it's a good move when it comes to well as future clients wanting animation created.

The camera is a Canon EOS 60D and has a 50mm lens and a telephoto that is used from off Ebay. The telephoto isn't the greatest and has some pitting in the lenses inside. Still the quality is darn good compared to the Olympus even with the flaws.

What will I do now? Well, the Olympus camera isn't working properly (some images randomly are over exposed) and so this new system will be more stable. But the consistent image won't be there when shots are spliced into the old footage. I won't go into technicalities but needless to say the look of the shots will be noticeable unless I can edit them in a way that you don't see it.

What Will Become of These?

What is to become of these heads I sculpted? Previously a client gave me the task of creating a 30 second commercial, but then couldn't find the funds. In November he may come up with the funds, but if not - these heads may be used in Zombie Pirate Tales. Why let them go to waste?

You may recognize that I altered three of them from previous characters already in the film. The old man is Ruble the Russian, the Asian is Shimbu the Monk, and the center guy is actually a modification of Captain Quill.