Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sand Zoom

 Wow! Action packed progress on the desert set for the foreground in the final scenes of the film series. Sherie has built with and for me this incredible palm (with purple dates wink wink, Sherie) and the Serpent sage's beautiful tent seen here still in progress on the new desert sand fabric being made below.
Sherie started Friday night by painting the cream flannel queen size flat sheet retired for this use. It struck me recently that rather than trying to build another enormous desert set for these scenes I could instead simply finish a piece of fabric with real sand and then drape it over crumpled paper to alter the dune topography at will. No more heavy, unwieldy set pieces to build and stow. This one can easily roll up on a cardboard tube and be put away when not in use.

So far it's working really well. I need to go buy more matte medium and bags of pale sparkly scenic sand for finishing off a top coat.

When the paint was dry the next morning I set about laying in patches of matte medium and sand that Sherie (my accomplice) and I stole from Santa Monica beach where we were attending an annual Easter event. It also happened to be my AnniverSherie as this time last year is when I meet Sherie and invited her to help with the project. I have assigned her all the desert set elements because it seemed a fit for her and boy, was that right. She's done so well. Without her coming over when she could, I know for certain none of the desert set would have been built. Now I can't imagine them any other way.

Normally, I am truly loathe to do anything against the rules such as stealing public sand from a beach, even the single zip lock bag full I did. I realize that if everyone took sand off the beach there'd be no beach. I had already bought a lot of sand for this, all of which was too coarse for this application. I had one small bag of fine sand like I used on the seat of my Day at the Beach chair last year but I couldn't remember where I got it at the time. I really had to wrestle with my sense of principles and values. I had to reflect on what rules would I follow and which I wouldn't. It got way philosophical for this set building discussion.

In the end, I decided to opt for the modest thievery with gratitude to the beach for making a contribution to the project. I promised it fame (among dozens) and a kind of lasting adventure not too many grains, except those that get to ride in our cars after hiding in our shoes, get to experience.

After a couple days of coating the cloth with medium and sand, sweeping off the excess half a dozen times, it's got its complete first layer. In the lower right hand image above, on the left hand side you can see a paler patch that already has the softer second layer applied.

When it's all done, I can install the palm and tent through cut slits in the fabric and place gentle rolling paper shapes underneath it all for contouring. I was going to go make two more sheets at the beach (via a quicker method of soaking the sheets in medium and then rolling them into the beach itself.) to use as distant dunes. But will likely instead use composited stills of this same sheet, in differing hill shapes, for the background(s).

8 comments:

  1. If you build a set this is the best moment: suddenly everything comes together and looks like a perfect world of its own...

    I'd LOVE to see more!

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  2. Oh YES! That's the best part and what we most want, yeah?!

    I'd like to see more too! Working on it best I can.... xoxox

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  3. I can just picture the sage, loitering within tent...
    Fabulous palm tree and desert, and great idea to drape a sandy surface over shapes you've already built.

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  4. Hardi har har har! Good one, Nick!

    If I turned that tree around would it be a back-handed compliment?

    I like your idea of draping the sand sheet over shapes I've built, but really what I meant in the post was that I would just drape it over undulations of paper. The shapes wouldn't be fixed, which, I felt would be alright in this one case, because sand shifts in nature.

    Let's see what you make of that! :)

    If I sold you that structure on sale would it give you a cents of discount tent?

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  5. I can hear the whistle in the breeze already. nice lookin set. magical.

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  6. Good idea for sound effect, Rich! Making mental note! Thanks!

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  7. I think it is ok to get some sand, you do pay taxes, it is minor really, and what a wonderful job of the tent and desert!
    ♥♥♥
    *M*

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  8. Thanks for that, Marcie HON! I actually found the right sand in the floral department downtown since this post and bought a huge amount. I can make desert for days! HA!

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