Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Spring!

It's sure been feeling like spring here in beautiful, sunny California, hoping it's getting to be nice where you are.

Below is a "sketch" clip using a pickle picker mechanism I had in mind for the Flowering Thoughts sequence (Film 3; scenes 2 & 3). I bought several little kitchen gizmos that are made to slip into pickle jars and retrieve the last crisp pickle or what have you from the bottom of the jar without getting your fingers frigid. I broke them apart to analyze how the gadget works and added two of the spring wire finger pairs onto one spring loaded plunger to make a six petal flower. I covered the wire fingers with hand-painted, thin, crepe paper so the finished flower could compress very tightly into a small tube for the blooming trick/gag. I set the rig in front of fresh cat grass and proceeded to push the spring wire flower up through the tube and then to plunge the extender syringe up to make the flower appear to grow taller.

View this clip on Vimeo

This clip is 77 frames that had to be edited one-by-one by hand in Photoshop in order to adjust the color, levels, texture, and rubber stamp over the seams in the tubing, which also seemed not to work. The stem moves as if made of clay by a child when done in the cursory fashion my timeline allowed.

I have long thought it would be clever to smoothly animate the blooming action up through a tube rather than having to move each petal in unison. But I've learned by today's exercise that this isn't so. So, it's been another Halfland Win with this blog, knocking over yet another erroneous notion I had for so long in mind. Being forced by this daily journal to move forward with something, anything, on the project, is forcing me to negate and/or affirm these many thoughts I've held onto. Boom--that sound you hear is another one hitting the drawing room floor. Good!

I'll have to go back and look at Mike Brent's early clips shot with the "Darkstrider Unibrain Webam of Joy", that he has so generously loaned to this (a-hem, mature) neophyte, to see if and how he managed to get some detail with it. The DUWofJ is perfect for my practice practice practice but I can't seem to get sufficient detail or appealing lighting with it for later shooting.

Tomorrow... A little study in wire and block armature action.


  1. Wow, I love the idea of your bloomin' pickle pusher! I think it might work better if you actually pull it through and then reverse the clip in iMovie.

    To get full control over the webcam, go into Framethief Prefs, then Quicktime Video Feed, and there's a longish oval button called Video Source (it should display the name of the Uni). Click it to open your manual settings window. I don't recall much about it these days, but it seems like there are 3 different windows in there and by messing with all of them you can get complete manual control. And adjust focus with the lens ring.

    While you have the Video Feed window open, be sure to set Frame Averaging for like 15 frames or so to make everything look really purty.

  2. Anonymous12:52 PM

    Hey Shel, your blog is bogging, because you've got so much video. You might want to set it to archive weekly since you post every day.

  3. Thanks, Mike! I think I'll try a flower again later, only with each petal individually animated. I think I can do better than I did. Great thought though, although I couldn't get the reverse clip feature to work in iMovie, endless technical things to work out later.

    I will indeed go straight away and work the Uni's prefs over, thanks! I believe I am shooting 15 frames per and capturing 2 shots each pose. Maybe when I compress to 15 frames per it drops frames anyway? I'll have to go read up on it at the SMA Handbook!

    And as I smartly always do as you say, the archives are now set for weekly and I reduced the amount of posts showing to 5. Please tell me if any other things look wonky. Any tips thrown my way are most appreciated. Like for example what's the html coding you are using to make a link clickable in posts and comments??!

    Thanks, Mike

  4. Anonymous9:03 PM

    Ah, grasshoppah, allow the Strider through Darkness to bring forth some enlightenment! ; )

    1) If you're shooting at 15 FPS, then you should only shoot one frame for each pose. If you shoot 2 ("on 2's") then it amounts to apprx 7.5 FPS, which is too slow and will look jerky. 15FPS on 1's is the same (essentially) as 30 FPS shot on 2's.

    2) Click on the link that says EDIT ME right under - Blogger has an explanation that is probably as good as I can do. Basically, your URL needs to go inside the " marks, and the words you want to be the link go between the ] and [ brackets, where it currently says "EDIT ME" in the example. Hint, copy and paste their EDIT ME link several times, then just replace their sample URL with the correct ones, and where it says EDIT ME type in the names of the sites. And voila, you're doin' HTML code! You can use the tag that starts with {a href="...... and ends with {/a} in a comments box like this one to create a live link too. (replace the { and } with < and >)

    3) There are just a few basic things you need to know to edit in iMovie, and once you've got them under control, it's amazing what you can do (especially when you've installed the Stupendous Software plug-ins!). Basically, it's all about the EDIT pulldown menu. Start by placing your clip(s) in the timeline at the bottom, then highlight a clip you want to edit. It will tuen blue. Now, go to EDIT and select from the options there. My most-used function by far is the "SPLIT SELECTED CLIP AT PLAYBACK HEAD" command. You place the playback head where you want to make a cut, do rough placement by dragging it through the timeline (called SCRUBBING), then fine-tune using your left and right arrows for frame-by-frame advance. Hint; don't throw anything away... always drag the cutoff segments to the CLIPS pane just in case.

    To reverse the direction of a clip, go to the ADVANCED pulldown menu. This is one of the few commands that's not under EDIT. The clip needs to be highlighted blue, then just click on REVERSE CLIP DIRECTION. Hint: you can copy and paste a clip into the timeline as many times as you want, and then reverse direction of every other one, to create a loop-back-and-forth scenario.

  5. Cool.... now I can be Darkstrider and have the nifty hammerman icon! I was 'sperimentin' with moving my blog over to Blogger, that's why I can have my pic in my comments now. But I've decided my current hand-coded blog is better in the long run. The only real benefit to using Blogger is auto-archiving, and I don't like the rather anonymous numbering system... I'd rather be able to name my archived pages as i like.

  6. You people see what a beacon of light Mike is?!!! Thank you for all the answers, Mike!! And a hardy welcome to the Hammer Dude. It's nice to have some company for my half face :^}

  7. Awwwww......


    : )

  8. Anonymous3:37 AM

    I don't know how I missed this! How fabulous, using a plunger to bloom!!!

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. hanks Ulla, It seemed a good idea but when I tried it I found that going ahead and animating each petal would be better for animation. However, if you could hook several such things up to a repeating motor, the "live" blooming flowers might make a special spring window effect for your amazing shop!?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...