The Deadly Deaths

Nick's blog

This is my blog that follows the making of our of music videos. The blog posts related to my first stop-motion animated music video for the song "See The World" start from this post.

15th Sep 2006

Some more clearing shots....

Just some random shots from the last few days of shooting. I only have one more shot to do on this set and then I'm onto the final planet set and some stop-motion of the band members (to overlay on the television shots earlier in the video).

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13th Sep 2006

The clearing....

I spent today shooting more of the clearing scenes. The photo above is from the end of the video where the two characters meet for the first time.

I played around a with the focus on this shot. It was quite hard to get right. I did a test shot similar to this about a month ago and it had a lot of camera shake (seeing as I have to touch the camera to change the focus), but somehow this shot doesn't seem to suffer from it as much.

I also had a bit of trouble with the clearing set. It is quite hard to drill holes through the floor of the set without ripping up the material, so I've had to do some fixing up and repainting. Luckily I don't need to see the ground until my shots tomorrow, so I've left it to dry overnight.

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7th Sep 2006

Replacement feet....

I didn't manage to get any shots finished last night. After setting up my forest scene I decided that I'd try to fix one of the feet of my puppet that had come loose. As I was fastening it back in place the heel of the foot broke (that's the third time for this foot) in a way that wouldn't fit back together. So I spent last night making these replacement feet. If I was to make this puppet again I would definitely spend a bit of time creating a stronger foot design. Hopefully these feet will be enough to get me through to the end of the video.

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5th Sep 2006

Back to the forest....

Well, I didn't like some of the forest shots for this portion of the video. Some of the shots looked like they were going to be impossible for me to shoot, so I've redone the storyboards for this part of the video. I'm trying to shoot most of these shots at night because they are such dark shots and my garage isn't as sealed off from the outside light as it probably should be.

The shots from the forest are mostly walking shots. They are from the third verse of the song and will fill about 16 seconds of the video. I've been a bit hesitant to start these shots, as I never managed to shoot any walking test shots that I was happy with.

With this shot I also had some more puppet drama. Almost 2 seconds into the shot the foot (not the same foot that broke last time) of the puppet broke in half! So I had to quickly glue it back together and leave the set for half an hour waiting for the glue to harden. I'm a bit nervous that my puppet isn't going to hold up for the rest of my shots.

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30th Aug 2006

Frustration in the forest....

I've a frustrating day. The forest set is now assembled and I started my first shot on the set this afternoon. It took quite a long time to light, but I managed to get something that looked good (to me). Anyway, an hour and a half into the shot the foot of my male character broke. It wasn't anything too major, and after 45 minutes and a little bit of glue I was shooting again and managed to finish the shot. I then transferred the pictures from the camera to my computer and discovered that the whole shot was out of focus! I don't know how this happened. I must have knocked it with the webcam (or something). How ******* frustrating!

It's 9PM here now, and I'm debating whether to go out into the garage and try again....

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28th Aug 2006

Three sets to go....

I finished shooting on the female characters set today. Three more sets to go (and then possibly some reshooting of some the male characters set scenes).

Most of the shots on this set haven't been too challenging. There was one shot that took a while to shoot (a 5 second pan at 24 frames per second).

This was one of the more complicated shots from today. I may have to reshoot it. Currently it is longer than it will appear in the music video, but I'm not too sure how well it is going to cut with the shots around it.

I've also started experimenting with the compositing that I'm going to have to use for some special effect shots. The results are looking good, and I'm fairly confident that I will be able to get them looking how I want them.

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22nd Aug 2006

Shots from today....

Well, I didn't manage to shoot as much today as I did yesterday (I spent most of the morning ringing around radio stations and doing chores), but I still managed to get quite a lot done. I should be finished shooting on the male characters set tomorrow. Though that really depends on how well my first walking shots go. I need to walk the male character from the chair to the door and I'm still not confident with my walking animations.

Anyway, I thought I'd put up a few stills from today.

I think these two shots are from the "solo" portion of the song. The poster on the wall of the room (you can only see the bottom of it) is the "A Low Hum" tour poster from the bands first gig.

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20th Aug 2006

First day of shooting....

I finally started shooting today. I've started with a lot of the shots that don't require a lot of complex animation work so that I can ease myself into it (in theory). I managed to get 14 shots finished (by shooting 394 images).

I had a bit of trouble trying to figure out how to do one shot that required the camera to move. I ended up taping the camera tripod to an office chair that I was using and very carefully moved it between frames. It was quite frustrating trying to get it to move only the smallest amount. It was made even more frustrating by the fact that it was the longest shot I did today.

I'm fairly happy with the results. I may increase the frame rate for this shot to make it smoother (I shot more frames than I needed, so it should work). Notice that the shot doesn't flicker! I haven't put this shot through any post-processing, so I think that the completely light sealed room has fixed my problems.

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16th Aug 2006

Setup test....

I started setting up my animation space today. The following image is the table that I've made to hold the four main sets. It has removable metal poles/spikes that attach to the house sets, and wood below for attaching my forest sets to.

The garage is a bit of a mess. I think there are five bikes, a fridge and a whole lot of junk in there right now. I seem to have cleared myself enough space to move around though.

The above image is a lighting test for the television scenes. There is a lightbulb that sits inside the television and passes through the bottom of the set (you can see the orange cord in the first picture above).

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14th Aug 2006

Characters complete....

I finally got around to finishing off the female character today. It got left unfinished while I got distracted by all the other jobs I had to do. Here it is shown lent on the door that I've made for the male characters house.

I thought that I should probably post a picture of my animating setup too. The digital SLR camera (fully manual) is used to capture the final images used for the animation, while the webcam (the silver tube just to the right of the digital SLR camera's lense) and computer are used to monitor the movements of the animation.

I've also bought a few lamps over the last few days to use as my lighting rig. I've masked off most of the garage I will be shooting in to make it as dark as possible. I finally got around to building the supports for the second house set and assembled it too. I've made and finished off the remaining small props that I needed for the house sets (door, television antennas, televisions, etc). I've also bought a camera remote to fix the problems I had with the camera moving during shots. It looks like I might be able to actually start shooting this video sometime soon!

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