Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Eye Doesn't Has It

The purpose of this clip was to try out the new pond water top layer that Christine and I installed on Tuesday. And to play with possible ways of revealing the Time Frog's eye in a dynamic way.

I don't think the clip is successful/useable but it did provide a lot of practical information and learning.

Getting to know what is possible, trying out different ideas, this 226 frame test clip, shot in reverse action, proves:

• My tracking has to get much more smooth and not jerk all over.

• I can pull focus and track (and refocus the camera) during a single stop mo shot.

• I can zoom, but I had better put some kind of increment marking to follow, that just moving it by hand without any measure, makes the zoom choppy.

• I can shoot action in reverse and use an application (thanks to Christine's suggestion) to rename all frames/files in a folder, reversing their sequence, so that Quicktime can assemble in the other direction. Christine used Renamer but that didn't work with my OS 10.6.8, so I bought one called A Better Finder REname 9 ($19.95) which did.

• Our new top layer of pond water (thanks to Nick Hilligoss' suggestion) looks much better (i.e.; less like a sheet of plastic being rippled) but we'll need to animate it much more slowly (less often) to get it more pond water like.

• I can't use the action of a ragged black border to burn the frame edges via batch process as it "boils", moves each frame, for some reason.

• The frog's clock hands are animatable but I have to be sure and close the trap door to access them on the side each time. In this clip it is flapping like a flag.

• Capturing the film at the proper higher resolution (as Nick and Mike kindly informed) means:
  1. Minute globs of dried hot glue, tiedowns, eye reflections, window reflection, and stray cat hair become like boulders, as Mike warned.
  2. The 3Drender action I like to run on my frames can't take a whole folder at once, PS crashes on my system. However, breaking them up, 10 frames in 22 separate folders, running the batch processing on each folder--and then reassembling the whole 226 into one folder again before converting to motion in Quicktime--does work.
This clip uses four passes of processing actions:

  1. Resize to 1280 x 720 for editing (also ran a draft at full 1080 to see how it looked--a little to starkly flawed screened on a computer, projecting it onto a large screen at some point might blur it back into fantasy dreamy)
  2. The Jeremy Birns 3D render for a toy camera effect that I love.
  3. The raggged black border for a burned edge effect (to cover the gaps on the corners left by the distort of the above action.
  4. I also used crude iMovie image adjustments to heighten the contrast and shift the white point toward blue range, as the raw footage looked too boring for me.

I added sound via iMovie (only editing app I currently have) I will note Nick's suggestion of using Partners in Rhyme for the actual film but opted for free mp3 files from Sound Jay for this quick test.


  1. Love the time frog! and yes the water is looking much, much better!.........I must agree a little about the tracking.

    I had a little idea for introducing/revealing the frogs clock /eye, you could start with a close up of the time frogs clock/eye with sounds of the water and a tick of the time piece and just a subtle move of a clock hand, then you could cut back revealing the whole frog.

    Good luck with your filming.


  2. wooo, Steven, I really love that idea!!

    Will attempt.

    Thanks so much for watching and commenting. Makes all the difference.

    Yeah, the tracking. Christine taped a measuring tape onto the camera lens so that in the next test I can try to zoom with uniform increments. That should help a bit.


  3. OMG the eye clock hand moves! Nearly didn't see this post, it was already pushed back to the "older posts" by the new pics of Kyra, but I thought it was worth a look to see if I missed anything. Looks like Halfland is full speed ahead.

  4. toot toot! Chug chug, Nick! She's rolling.

    Yes, the hands in the eye move (better than in this clip. The next test I'll post has more precise incremental movements of them.

    Not only that, but the watchworks inside the same frog puppet also move! Gears and swallowed flies, et al! That's what the gear on his back is controlling!

    Choo choo.


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