Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Make the Bed... and pillows... and lamps... and...

Made animateable bedsheet today, added the metal lined wool blanket and ran a wee test. Works exactly as I'd hoped it might. Better actually, I didn't know it would work.
I laminated several layers of heavy strength aluminium foil with white gesso to act as an animateable substrate inside fabrics in the set. (on left) I use an old plastic card to smooth on a thin layer of Stick Flat glue on it. This was encased inside wrinkled, stained natural muslin for Rana's top sheet. See it in action in test above.

I've been stitching various fabric pieces for use as throw pillows for Rana's chair and window seats. (in middle) is my version of Rana's "Slow Cloth", in spired by the marvelous textile artist at Spirit Cloth by embroidering the reverse side of a textural piece in Rana's colors. (on right) I'm in the process of making botanical doilies for Rana's reading chair. I've also added a piping detail to the chair's cushion. Both things really add a reality to the chair prop, breaking up the dark field of maroon color.

While waiting for the xmas cards to arrive last week, I ducked into the incredible Liz's Antique Hardware on LaBrea in LA. They have thousands of pieces of salvage hardware of every variety there, well organized, with an intelligent staff ready to help. I poked around and found this beautiful antique iron wheel (I believe may have likely been part of a pulley many years ago?) It looks wonderful on the cottage porch next to the rain water barrel. The price I paid? Let's just say the lovely salesman at Liz's is a patron of the arts. He asked if I could use an intern for Halfland! I told him to check out the blog and email me if it looked like something he'd like to do afterall. I don't expect to hear from him, but it was a fun thought.

I recently came to realize a new story development for Halfland. I realized that the Time Flys get caught in the spider's web and end up on Rana's pin cushion. This is how we get more time. I plan to build the upstairs window in the cottage as seen on left above and go for a quick shadow shot as shown to suggest the spider's web.

I have spent a lot of money through the years in a desperate attempt to recreate a little oil lamp chimney for Halfland. I've bought blown glass hollow balls, tiny glass Christmas balls, plastic candy-filled Christmas lights, small chandelier light bulbs, etc., all in the vein hopes of creating the exact look of the plump little one such as the real-life Rana, wonderously gifted painter and storyteller Rima, has in her little portable cottage (on left). I was getting crazed, fixing to sculpt and cast one to scale in that shape when--eBay--swooped in to my rescue instead! I found and ordered the tiny 2-1/2" glass chimney you see on the right. I sketched it to scale and fitted the paper in the mini lamp ring I found in New york and held the pair up to the Rana sculpt for size. I think it'll work. I plan to build the rest of Rima's little lamp from odd bits of metal. It's an important prop that will sit on the table next to Rana's chair by firelight.


  1. I love seeing the test videos! Also, I am moving in when all the shooting is finished, once I figure out how to shrink myself. So cozy!

  2. Oh hoho, Elva! You fit riiiiiight in with Halfland! That's why you are the only human live action actress in it!

    yay Thank you!

    Camera here, btw, will test out and send soon!

  3. That test with the blanket is perfect! Definitely have to bookmark that technique.
    Good luck with the lamp - I love seeing the new pieces come together.

  4. HI Emmy! I love the foiled fabrics! I'm going to do it to everything in Halfland! The skirts, the anything else.

    yay! Thanks! The lamp arrived yesterday and is PERFECT! w00t! (I just had coffee!)

    I found more things I'd wasted money on, more than I bought the chimney from eBay for! I also bought a lab flask WRONG shape, etc. etc.! So this chimney solved a long standing glitch in my prop building. yay.

    By the way, I found more toy wheels yesterday at the craft store and can now commence to making extra spindles to send along with the extra animation disks. Stand by for yours!

  5. Wow, what a fascinating process you are going through. I think this is the first blog I have seen about the making of a stop-motion film with this kind of detail.

    By the way, thanks for the link to Hugh MacLeod's article. His "social objects" are interesting to consider in the context of "object oriented" approaches to cinema. It also explains the success of certain tried and true marketing phenomenon; like why animated films sell plush toy merchandise of the main characters of their films.

    - Gabriel, from Quantum Cinema

    PS: how did you get the status bars widget in your right-hand column?

  6. You are so right, Gabriel. The process of making this film is a journey of epic proportions, to me anyway.

    So glad you stopped by. I found your fascinating post on Quantum Cinema via the comments on the Adobe R&D clip at Vimeo my friend Grant Twittered about.
    (That last sentence could not be written a year ago, eh?! Wild times, indeed.)

    Yes! The Social Object concept. Utterly gripping notion, especially when applied to the clip in your post that lays out what the Four-eyed monster kids have done. This excites me more than I can explain. It's the way I want to distribute my film without question. I'll give it away all day long and make money via the "Generatives" as Kevin Kelly calls them.

    The code for the status bars in my side bar were given away freely by a Norwegian knitter named Turvid. I couldn't track down her original post describing it but here instead is her html code ---NOPE! Blogger won't allow html in comments*---(the most elegant I found when seeking a feature like it out) from my own side bar.

    All you would do to customize it is replace the name and percentage(s) as your project progresses along.

    *I can't locate a good alternate code online but I'd be glad to share Turvid's code via email. nobledesign[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

  7. Anonymous6:23 AM

    I love the bed animation, and the foil idea. I will have to try it -- armature wire sheets are so expensive and painful to work with -- it's like working with barbed wire.

    I've taken a bit of a break from my film, and reading your blog makes me anxious to get back... also makes me kinda miss the building stage!

    Happy 09!

  8. Oh yeah! I'm loving the foiled fabric technique! So cheap, so easy, so effective!

    Your comment about jonesing for building makes me want to savor this phase rather than complain how long it's taking! Thank you for that!

    Happy '09 all around!

  9. Shelley, I wanted to check your latest post about Rana's bed again. Using aluminium foil is just a super idea!!! Thanks for sharing again and again.. And the animation look great!

  10. Thanks, Jazzy Yazzy! I just finished building the bed!! woot! gotta post about it! I used gutter mesh on the duvet cover as foil was too light...

  11. Wooow ok !! Cant wait to see your post about it..


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