Monday, January 17, 2011

Make the Moon

In a recent post about Yanu's bamboo grove set I showed the finished Moon Lantern prop in the green forest. Here's a recounting of how Constance made it with me.

Job one was to determine the size to make the moon. I wanted it large enough to seem like the moon in the night sky yet also like a paper lantern hanging in the Answer Tree. It needed to be small enough for the mothman puppet Yanu to carry through the grove at night, to get that great light-moving-through -the-stalks shot, yet not so small we wouldn't know somehow it's also more than just a normal lantern.

It had to read as BOTH moon and Japanese sort of luminaria. But not so obviously the moon as to have photographic moon topography reproduction on its surface. (I plan to briefly superimpose the moon surface onto the lantern in post, like a glimpse, just to play with the misperception further.)

We started by taking (--ok, stealing.) We stole a small black rubber exercise ball from Paul's workout gear, covered it in plastic with masking tape, so it wouldn't get dirty. She wound a kind of brown bark-like paper wrapped wire in a spiral shape around the covered ball, then secured these ribs with thinner cloth covered floral wire as vertical supports.

This is where it gets tricky mentally. We decided then to cut off this wire cage off the ball in order to papier maché the plastic protected ball underneath with rice paper, a few layers think. Once dry, this paper shell was also cut open in order to get the original ball out. Then Constance carefully replaced the wire cage around the now empty paper lantern shell, seamed it up with more paper.

Lastly, we both took turns making a final layer of absolutely moon-like paper (see above right image) maché top coat in about nine shaped paper sections.

Cram the shell full of battery op'd lights and voilà!
In Halfland, the moon is like a lantern hanging from a friendly neighbor's porch. Both a figurative and  literal metaphor. Here is a sketch of how Yanu will look at night, illuminated by just the Moon Lantern, as he slowly brings it home to rest for the night in Rana's tree (image concocted after being inspired by the amazing creative image maker Joel and his moon image.)


  1. greetings from

  2. Hey there!

    Full moon tonight....I cant wait to see it in scene.

    and its so funny how when we make any part of our living quarters could be recruited for set- puppet or film production.

    having fun lady!


  3. Shelley, how lovely is this? I agree with Justin, and want to see this put in scene!

    And it's not "could be recruited", it's "is recruited"! :D I don't know any other people who improvise as much as we stopmo'lers do... And this is great! Improvisation rocks!

  4. Karina! Holy Moly, your Mouse Mansion is sheer perfection! Your work hits the mark perfectly. So great. Welcome to Halfland all the way from the Netherlands!

    Thanks, Justin! What piece of the house do you mean? What did you do?!

    Hi Jessica!! Everyone says "problem Solving" is teh best part of stop mo. That pure creative puzzle resolving that is sooooo satisfying!

    But what improv do you---

    Oh wait! I get what you both mean now--Paul's BALL! Oh! Yes, that boy has lost many a personal item for Halfland. Most notably one of the pockets of his pajamas went on to become a mushroom! HA!

  5. so neat, shelley! beautiful yanumoon.

  6. Love the interactive lighting on Yanu from the lunar lumin!

  7. Beautiful shot there at the end, the moonlit Yanu looks sublime.

  8. Thanks, gl!

    Thanks for the words. And thanks for coining the perfect name for it, Nick! "Lunar Lumina" You're so good at that!!

    Thanks for noticing the portrait, Jeffery! It took me quite a while to cobble it together.

  9. You never cease to amaze me!

  10. How interesting! ^^

  11. Greetings!

    I'm from the Capital City Film Festival in Lansing, Michigan and we are looking for more film submissions from promising filmmakers. This is the first year for the CCFF and we would appreciate any help spreading the word to filmmakers that may not be aware of our festival. We've received many submissions from all over the world but we'd love to see more. We're particularly interested in narrative feature and student shorts under 5 minutes, a category for which we are giving away over $7,000 in prizes. We will consider all fee waiver requests in those two categories. The deadline is coming up quickly on February 1st and the festival itself is April 14-17, 2011. Thank you so much for your help!

    Katie Wittenauer,
    Programing Director, Capital City Film Festival

  12. Thanks, Elva! Welcome, Audrey! And hello to Katie. Good luck with your Festival. Have you contacted the huge Stop Motion Animation forum with our announcement?

    I can't tell from the CCF site what sort of shorts you're after but since it doesn't say I suppose animation will be accepted?


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