Monday, October 01, 2007


It's almost as if you're here now with my new spiffy Halfland Documenatrious Digicam. Welcome! Notice the soot build up on the tree above the chimney?
Here we go with a tiny cottage building catch up. Below on left are the clear contact paper stencils used to create a folksy Alpine pattern on the wood slats. The first attempt failed because I used red acrylic paint touched up with a white paint pen. It looked sloppy and all wrong. I painted it out with a fresh layer of cream paint and instead rubbed on the design with red oil pastel through the stencil with the pad of a finger. When the stencil was peeled back there was a far crisper pattern and looked just the right amount of a worn inlay. I applied several coats of clear flat wax aged with walnut ink after that to fix the pastel for a woodsy flat finish.

The new camera has a decent macro mode that was able to capture the smallest detail on the door plate and storm shutter latch hardware. Check out that keyhole! The door plate is pounded copper with jewelry finding nailheads. The keyhole is a smashed, pierced, and shaped gold micro eyelet, the size of a sesame seed. The apple seed-sized glass doorknob was made out of a copper tack topped with a drop of diamond glaze surrounded by a circle of hole-less clear micro beads. The iron latch actually works on the inside of the storm shutters but they'll be shown opened out at some point in the film, when the Maus retrieves a bottle of ink from his soon-to-be iron balcony. On the right are the shutters closed up tight.

Below is the tiny Tudor window with its raised painted net leading. Three terra cotta pots in wrought iron holders will finish off that window. For scale, the top beam is actually a bamboo chopstick. On the left, I'm showing where the corbel will go when they are defined further and stained.
In addition to finishing the wooden door, the balcony filled with ink bottles and quills, and pot hangers, still to do to complete this time consuming sucker is to chop a supply of tiny fire logs and stack them under the long eave on the right side of the house, finish the trail and garden, including a tiny twig archway and fence. That should be it.

Gear Details:
Camera specs: I went to Bel Air Camera in Westwood because they were supposed to have expert staff and an up to date selection, which they did. I wasn't there to tax them yesterday however as I was out for the least expensive small silver box I could find. I'm happy to have paid $159 for a Nikon Coolpix L12 7.1 megapixel. It's super easy to use coming from the 950 and has new features that are a vast improvement over my beloved broken friend. Some things are still crazy like the unbelievably flimsy silver-colored plastic battery compartment cover that seems to ache to break with the lightest touch. I give that thing two weeks before I'm back to keeping the latch closed with a rubber band. However, for the purposes of recording and sharing the progress here as well as serving to capture images for personal art this new little friend is wildly fun. (It'll even take a burst of video.) The still image files are much larger and sharper than before but I'm still converting copies of them to gifs for use on the web, reducing the file size to about 200k each, as per usual. Click to enlarge them as always. Do they look ok or better at all?

Hold Still: I also grabbed a smallJoby Gorillapod flexible tripod for $21.95 as I've been lusting after one for a couple years. It's so much easier to get the shot! I can wrap the legs around a tree branch for a bird's eye view! It's rubber-tipped Lockline plastic 360ยบ ball joint essentially, except it holds its position much better. I'm going to try to animate it to see if it's worth getting more to use as puppet armature.


  1. Hi Shelley,

    These new photos are a massive improvement! It is great to see the House in such incredibly detailed photos. Getting the new camera was a great move! All the better to let us see just how much work you have put into these sets and props.

    Being able to see the soot deposits is a great example. I think the eaves have turned out nicely too.

    Great stuff!

  2. The haus is looking incredible!!!

  3. The new pics look great! Your attention to detail is amazing. Great work as always shelley!

  4. Hey, hi, Paul (of 42), You know, you probably came upon Halfland while I was using Mike Brent's Unibrain webcam and screen grabs off of Framethief to take photos here. So yeah, the new ones would be like a whole nother world of realism!

    I have to say, however, that while I was shooting with the webcam, while the lack of detail was driving me cookoo, I was majorly digging the vintage lens look it was rocking. I've been trying to find a way to get the dirty spyglass lens look while maintaining rich color and detail to actually use for the film itself!

    Hey Mikeee! You know your thumbs up means the world to me. Halfland sucks unless you approve of it.

    Thanks Mark! Gretchin mentioned that she has a gift for knowing precisely how much time a project will actually need. I thought a tiny house like this would be a quickie. So I'm looking over at the sculpts that need to be cast, the big cottage that needs the love, costumes, landscape, filming, editing, et al., and I think I'm glad I DO NOT possess that gift!

    I don't want this to be a 30 year to build Watts Towers, Goudy tiling a town in Spain, life's work first novel kind of deal either. Hmmm.

    I think at this point, looking ahead, that it is not reasonable to be making the entire Halfland project by myself. Armies of people usually work together on these shorts, Laika, Peter and Wolf, Bent Image, etc.

    However, it is personal art and I can't think of what aspect of it I could give away to bedone by others. The sets and characters are mine utterly, the filming part of that expression, the same for editing. I could easily give away the sound track as I have no connection to music/sound. I know I want a certail storybook sound to the music and certain sound effects to accent the visual action. I could collaborate on that aspect.

    Now Hila Arazi, she I could collaborate on the whole thing with. She's lives on the other side of the globe but if she were in Los Angeles, I would get with her on this puppy so fast. No problem sharing it with her. Are you kidding!? She's genius. Mike too, actually.

    The only thing I can think to do in lieu of something like that is to forge on as best I can. Oh, that dear God sees fit to have me be well and equipped to complete this film! In a reasonable amount of time.


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