Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shot in the Dark

Halfland Video Storyboard Test Clip from herself on Vimeo.Made tiny as a test; tweaked in iMovie... Hmmm, this could be good!
I took my silver box and shot a quickie improvisation of the opening Halfland reveal sequence--in the dark--just to see if it would work. I think this method could be a good way for me to block out the action, puppet/prop placement, and camera moves for the whole film.

Even just making this last night showed me I'm either going to need to hunt down an old dental x-ray arm to mount the camera to or build out of hardware something that moves up and down and swings wildly. Looks like hand held wobble will be my film "style".


  1. Handheld wobbly is good!!! Remember Mish's hallway sequence? He got a totally realistic looking handheld effect with a Manfrotto 410 Jr geared tripod head.

    Sounds like you need a Camerajack!

  2. On wheels!

    For years I have studied the Darkstrider Camera Jack with appropriate awe. I want big swings too. I was eyeing my dentist's x-ray and light with keen interest I don't mind telling you.

    Craig's list?!

  3. Actually I don't think a swing arm would work (unless it comes with its own attached multi-million dollar computerized motion control system). I know it sounds good, but I don't know how you'd get it to move a quarter of an inch and stay right there till you're ready to move it again. That's what's needed for stopmo.

    IF you can get some kind of strongarm thing that will hold every position tightly but let you easily move it by a millimeter or two when you want, then you're golden. Otherwise you'd probably need some kind of track or just do a handheld move on the landscape with nobody moving at the time.

  4. Hey, Shelz Back aimating!, Makes me want to do a test, But my set has became a dumping Ground!, I think its time to tame the beast!

  5. coooooool!!


  6. Anonymous10:13 PM

    Hey Shelley!

    How cool does that look? Totally cool! I'm playing with a role on a stop motion project myself at the moment... but it doesn't look anything near as funky as what you have envisioned. Can't wait to see more of this on camera.

    I'm sure you'd be able to get the effect you're after with some type of Magic Arm mounted on a tripod. Um... like this. May be a little hard to keep track of your camera movements but not impossible.

  7. Hmmm.... yes, it's just possible something like that might work, assuming a couple of things....

    You'd have to be using a very lightweight camera, and you'd need to be able to crank down all the joints friction-tight. By that I mean all joints would need to be tight enough to hold position with no fear of sagging (in every position, some might be strong at certain angles and weak in others) but also allow you to grab and slightly move the arm. It would be kind of like a big armature really.

    Also, I'd think about attaching discs at all the joints. Could just be cardbaord, with calibrated marks and numbers drawn on to help you guage the moves precisely.

    Also, in moving something like that the framegrabber would be your closest ally. You'd probably want to rehearse the move a couple of times in dry-run situation, trying different speeds/increments to see what looks natural. Ease-in and ease-out would be important to help with naturalism for the camera moves.

    The more i think about it, the best solution might be a simple counterbalanced arm on a stand that can be elevated, similar to a microphone boom arm. The less joints the better. With a setup like that, assuming you can move the camera forward/backward along the boom arm, have it mounted to a geared tripod head (the manfrotto) to allow complete movement of the camera along all axes, you could get a=lmost complete movement, with less problems than an arm with an extra joint.

    Ok, enough rambling from me! It's fun to think these things out on somebody else's blog!

  8. Hey Fellas! Thanks guys.

    Ben, well, moving pixters anyway.

    Rich, thanks for the link. I didn't camera equipment like that was available.

    Mike, all excellent ideas and points. I'll show you my fantasy...


    Oh, if only THIS would work! A second hand boom might be really workable. I'll start rooting around now.

    Thank you all!

  9. Yeah, I definitely see where you're comin from! Unfortunately, just like 98% of tripods out there, it has a nice fluid movement which makes "live acion" handling easy and smooth, but won't lock in place. The nice thing about the arm poasted above is you can easily crank down the hand screws at each joint to the right tension. Well, I'm probably just flappin my gums here, I think you know what I'm yappin about.

    Hey, there's always the other possibility.... you could make Halfland in CGI and whip the virtual camera around as much as you want!!!

    Ok, sorry. ;)

  10. Why, I , otta! grrrr. Everybody shout!: 3D is for me! 3D is for me! 3D is for me!!!!!

    Yep, I get the incremental movement import--I do. There may be a way howsomesoever. I may have to arrange for me step father, and engineering wiz, come down from San Franisco to set me one of dees here up for the purpose. I just realized the other day what an untapped 1/2Land resource he is! woo. He said he may have to drive down for that project I mentioned we were working on. I smell a dual purpose!

  11. Anonymous3:02 PM

    I think DarkStrider has the idea perfectly... wait, not about the CGI :) about the Magic arm. Although we have used Magic Arms mounted on the outside of moving vehicles with cameras like this so I don't think weight would be an issue. Just have to make sure you sandbag the tripod to make sure there's enough counter balance.

  12. $95,000000000000000000000000000.00! Wow! You work big, Rich! I saw your puppet sketch up at Flickr, gotta go catch up at your blog!

    Sandbagged Magic Arm, got it! Thanks so much!

    I was just looking at a hand-held video shoot I worked on and saw that for Halfland some wobble should work well as the camera is actually the eye of the audience pov, as if they woke up in another realm.

    That dental light ceiling mount arm still makes me drool though! Hubba.

  13. Anonymous6:21 PM

    Ha! Yeah, I've played with some fun toys. I remember the DoP on one of the Matrix Films left his 1/2 Mil digital film cam lying around unsecured one day and I was sorely tempted to steal it. Thought better of it. 2 weeks later it was run over by a truck at high speed in LA. *sob* Well, at least they used the shot in the film.

    Ha, oh no. That sketch has nothing to do with the current project. I'm not sure the director is all that keen for me to show off her character. I may do a 'this is how to use 2 part poly foam' post shortly though with a different character.

    You can do the hand-held look two ways. Shoot it smooth then add shake in post, or shoot it to look hand held. I always prefer the former as it give me the choice of both in the edit.

  14. This tree house you're building is SO amazing. I cannot wait to see your completed film.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...