Friday, February 18, 2011

Bringing to the Fore

Here's a WIP preview of the sort of effect I'm after for the foreground set; inviting white-washed gate and fencing and a bough of leaves frames the scene. (Giant resting line-producer cat not to be included in final version of film. :-)

Dear Constance has begun construction on the foreground set. Last session, she began by hand cutting a stack of 24 pickets out of cedar shims and discussing what the ornaments might be on the gate.

In the days that followed, I built the gate, stained all the pieces brown, and then again with pickling white wood stain after that. I chose to top the two newel posts supporting the gate with matching wood and iron acorns. I placed them on the ends of a small wooden spool I cut apart on top of softened square stock ends. I really like how they came out. Making the miniature gate with working hardware (the gate will be opened during the shot) was satisfying.
 Making these wild flower tufts was rather quick and easy and should look quite pretty in the foreground around the fence I think.

I wanted some weeds and flower shrubbery to grow around the fencing so I picked up the clumps of DEAD kitty grass usually laying around the place (finally a use for these), dyed the clumps green and let them dry well. I then hit the tips with matte medium and sprinkled them with small pieces of colored paper while wet.

I have found a FAST and easy way to chomp a lot of paper into very small pieces is to fold torn pieces in your color group choices into a "roulade" (a tight roll used to make it easier to finely chop fresh herbs in cooking) and keep it in one hand whilst I repeatedly slicing at it between that thumb and forefinger. There's no danger of being cut because you can go slowly and make sure you are slicing only between fingers. But this method means that you can have the smallest pieces as you could wish in less than a mere 20 slices.

Last Friday, Constance was a huge help in helping me find a good position for the foreground set piece for camera POV, etc. She then papier mached the underside of the whole piece all alone! She also began installing the finished gate and fence by making holes in the set and macheing around each picket. It's looking fantastic and should come together well soon. Thank you, Constance!


  1. Shelley, the first picture looks really amazing! Did you use any ligts there or is it only the daylight in your studio? Flowers on the right top looks lovely. Spring has already came to Halfland... And Giant resting line-producer looks very comfortable there; you might not be able to make her go somewhere else for the final version. Your invention about chomping a lot of paper together seems interesting. I will try.

  2. I know! You're right, Yaz, my "Fe-line Producer" as Constance has named her may very well get in on the actual filming!

    I'm going to let it all happen naturally. no locking them up in the laundry room, and see how it goes. To tell the truth I kind of dig the idea of an enormous semi-invisible cat roaming through in a few frames! Shhhh! Just like in real life! HA!

  3. Wow.. yes! When I watch your film I will be investigating each frame to find her around :)))

  4. Oh! It's natural light from the window over my desk in the right corner (unseen).

    I have yet to buy a single light for the film! Yipes!

    I'm not expecting to get anywhere near as pretty as natural light :(

    One day, perhaps after the principle shooting is completed, I hope to shoot the exteriors in a pretty meadow out-of-doors. But I don't want to tempt fate now as I love living/being here in this ample space, for the highest good, while I can!

  5. Light coming in from the window looks soo good. But, I think you can get closed to that feeling with studio lights too. And you know good thing about it is that you can manupulate and have the light whereever you like. Like having moonlight while sun is shinning on the other side of the set.

    Shooting exteriors after principle shooting is done sounds very nice too. I will be here watching Halfland under sunlight from the other side of the globe.

  6. It's so funny you should say that, Yaz! I have been sort of tinkering with the idea of making half the set in daylight and half in night! You have to admit that would be fitting!

  7. Ooops, yes! I should have thought about it. It is Halfland. Sounds sooooo wonderful!

  8. i like the forground elements and your composition. it's really shaping up now nand feeling like a special place. :)

  9. xoxox yazzy

    Thanks, Rich! xoxox

  10. I like the whitewash on the wooden gate - thin enough to let some of the woodgrain come through. It adds a nice depth with that gate in the foreground, and the little plants around it make it look like it's been there for ages. Nice!

  11. Thanks so much, Nick!!!

  12. man....I am dying to see this world come to life!!!

    so much coolness to look at.


  13. Keep an eye on your cat !

    Mines are evil ones. They like to play on my sets and with my props.

  14. Thanks J-sters!

    Yep, Vincent> Aren't all cats are a wee bit "evil"? God, love em. I fully expect some shots to be um, scratched!


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