Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moving PIctures

What you see here are images taken during Eliya Eizerikova's miraculous month long visit to Halfland.
She brought herself and her talents from across the planet into my world and made it better than it ever would have been without her. She taught me so much with her numerous skills and kindness. Has anyone ever had an experience like this? Where the PERFECT person arrives at the perfect time to do the perfect things in the perfect ways?! It's inexplicable.

She made easy friends with everyone, especially all our cats who will miss her signature head massages.
She was a total delight to be with. A tough, Jedi beauty whose devotion to Halfland was staggering.
Not sure I'll ever get over it.

If we never see her again, I will cry. We all would.

First Scenes/First Reactions!

Halfland begins to move with Eliya Eizerikova's generous artistry and technical help.  I never thought I'd be able to actually animate. I mean I always assumed I would, but after Eliya came and started me off, I now think I never would have without her! 

Russian-born filmmaker, Eliya Eizerikova, flew herself here from her home base in Israel to help me with Halfland (!) She stayed for a month (!) and we animated together each day as much as possible (!)
[Don't read this*, Eliya]  *She gets embarrassed when I gush over her.
She is an extraordinarily talented and giving person, clearly. She listened to me talk for 400GB, she endured me hitting the camera tripod with my foot out of nerves. She taught me how to light without sunlight. She showed me what it looks like to edit footage on a laptop like a tornado, faster than I could follow, she'd craft these scenes together.

She loves the project as much as I do, except Eliya has a terrific director's eye for seeing how a desired action could be shot that gives it more texture and interesting movement. And a courageous approach that will never hesitate to take action.

"The secret, Shelley, is not to know, but to try--and see whether it looks good."

She faced many limitations; my feeling un(never)ready, the Rana puppet being heavy and stiff, there being very little space around the giant set in this bedroom. Her military officer training and stop motion course instructor experience came in handy with me. She simply had no tolerance for any excuses. Sky not ready, pin it up. Puppet won't stand, rig it. Fish tail won't fit under the plastic water, cut it. It was FANTASTIC! Exhilarating to actually be shooting after so long! Doing whatever it took.

She was, in each moment, so gracious and supportive. You'd have to imagine what it's been like having an intelligent, multi-lingual, beautiful, fun and funny, kind, talented, patient, advocate, stop motion, director, videographer, editing, professional appear at your door from another country and volunteer to help make your dearest dreams come true.  She refused any offer of compensation, so pure is her desire about this. What can I possibly say.

I sent the link of her rough cut above to long term friends, family, followers, and fans of Halfland as sneak peeks. Some of their excited reactions follow below. I thank each of them for waiting so patiently for something to happen here. I am convinced nothing ever would have moved in Halfland had Eliya not been so moved to come and help.

Throwing some love back her way... Can't wait to animate more thanks to her!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!  Shelley, it looks amazing!  What an awesome surprise at the end of a mildly crappy day :) Rana is beautiful, she reminds so much of my mother-in-law, R's grandmother Bella!  J said the same when she watched it with me.
Everything is absolutely gorgeous!!  The sets are amazing, I loved Rana's little ear animation, and how you handled the water.   I can't wait to see more <3

I watched this like five times it is so delightful so thrilled to see Rana and I love her ears oh my god she's so darling the water the water the splash, the spider, you know I adore every little detail. The mushrooms the cabin the porch I miss it all so much so wonderful to see it again.  I'm so proud of you, very very proud of you, good work! Thank you!
Love you,

(ee!) congratulations,

OMG how precious. How in the world did you do the water? Loved the butterflies. Loved the front door. Loved it all. And it made me miss Constance! So much fun those times!
Love you,

What!? That is beautiful!! I just got the chills. :-D Congratulations! Hooray for Eliya! I'm glad she turned up on Halfland. I REALLY love the foreground elements. Keep it going!

How magical! The intricate details are charming and captivating. The work to create each little piece amazes me. I love the butterflies in her hair, the spider web, the weaving and her eyelashes. Bravo! Well done. I look forward to seeing more. xxx
Hugs to your creative soul!

♥️ to see it come to life

Dear Shelley: That is so wonderful, I’m very happy for you. I love what you have so far.
Love, R

Wow Shelley!!!!!
How exciting!
Congratulations :)
I love it!  The camera moves and lighting look so pro. The colors are beautiful and how exciting that your gorgeous details shine through :)
Great job with the water too!
Wow wow wow!
Can't wait to see more!!
Thanks so much for the peek :)
Big warm hug,

Super exciting stuff!!
Thanks so much for sharing... it's looking great!! 

Pure magic to see it brought to life like that!!! And even with music and little dust motes (or insects maybe?) drifting around out of focus! Who is this person helping you with it - have you written about her on the blog? I'll check on that. The name sounds Eastern European, which would be perfect. 

I love it!!!!  What a thrill to see your vision come to life.  I'm soooo happy for you.

Vaowwww... This is sooo beautiful!! What you have done here is just so amazing. Thank you very much for sharing this clip. I could not help crying seeing the first shots... I know how much you have put into this film. Every single detail in those scenes are well thought and created by you. And now it is coming alive. Bravo my friend!! I knew it was going to be amazing and now it is becoming real.
Love & peace, Y

Rana finally comes to life! GO SHELLEY!!

Studio Guest: Dick Kaneshiro!

I was lucky enough, just before Eliya arrived, to welcome animator Dick Kaneshiro to Halfland so he could help me plan the Bug Party shot with the Lunchbox Sync he had loaned me four years earlier to use.

Halfland is a good long distance from Dick's place but he squeezed in a day to come all the way out to help me, in between freelance pro gigs. And I have to admit here and now, He was RIGHT! The Lunchbox Sync is a fabulous solution with the Panasonic FZ50 which has no live feed frame grabbing features.

After we measured the tracking distance and timed the pacing, he tried a few passes for speed to get the best incremental measurements. Using the Lunchbox that day, I really got the hang of its controls and saw how well it worked. The best thing about it is that once the camera is connected, you've got all the frame grabber functionality needed, right through the camera's position.

Unfortunately, as soon as I started actually using it for the shoot a few days later, my camera's port failed and I had to scramble for other means of previewing. What Eliya and I came up with doesn't come from the camera and so doesn't show precise angles while shooting, regrettably. But I still would feel worlds better returning the Lunchbox, the monitor, and the CRT cart back to Dick ASAP. He's been so gracious about it, but I am so rough on stuff, I will feel much less stress to get it back to his pad safe and sound.

Thank you, Dick! In looking for these images, I found so many of you doing huge and hugely important things for the project over the years; soldering lights, constructing stage tables, and always there for panicked emails over my technical dilemmas, always rooting for me and this story.

Thank you, dear friend.
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