We’ve only just started to develop this website. As we get stuck further into making the film we will add a lot more. Useful tips, discoveries, frustrations, BTS Videos (behind the Scenes), so please sign up to our newsletter to keep upto date with what we are doing.
Today we completed the filming of our first sequence. It has taken us along time. We started back in February it is now the last week of May.
Admittedly we only work Fridays, but even so it has taken us ages. We have learnt a lot and in tackling this scene we have started to see what our puppets can do and what they struggle with.
One major change is that we started using plasticine mouths and then very quickly switched to paper mouths. Why? The plasticine mouths need an awful lot of clean up when switching. The black plasticine in particular leaves a nasty mark that looks like grime. Okay for this scene of kids in a park but not for scenes with adult characters.
We may try Fimo, the bakeable clay for the adult characters mouths but really the paper mouths have been an adequate alternative. Plus they don’t stick out so much on the faces which means for some angles they read a lot better on the screen.
The set we built was a big one and the amount of space we had to move about in the studio was very minimal. Because it was so big we were only able to build half of it at a time. This meant leaving a lot of shots of Emily until we had finished shots of Modercai, Conor and the Little Boy.
hen after drawing out all the positions of the characters on paper we built the other side of the set. Adding other park elements, like a bench, lampposts, a litter bin and another tree. Many elements were reused but disguised by reconfiguring their positions.
Then we started filming again.
It took us along time to work out how to best make the jump from the 2D designs that Eren has made in his storyboards to the 3-Dimensional puppets we are now creating. In fact it is something that we spent over 6 months experimenting with.
This involved lots of trial and error. Not just with the look, but also with fabrication. Because of our limited budget we have to be very careful with the materials we use. Looking back at our early heads they all look completely wrong now. But at the time each of them helped us to find a way forward and solved or revealed many problems.
As Eren developed the storyboards I began thinking more and more about how we could use new production techniques in our production process. Something that i’ve wanted to try out for a long time has been laser cutting.
On the previous film project I’d worked on with Jimmy Watkins quite a few sets had been designed on a computer using Adobe Illustrator. From he digital files templates were printed out and pieces hand cut from card and poly board (foam core).
This time, where possible I wanted to streamline the process and save myself the task of cutting out hundreds of pieces of card and poly board. I found a local Makerspace called Building BloQs and after completing their induction training I was able to start using their Trotec Laser Cutting Machine to build sets.
In many respects this piece of equipment has revolutionised my set construction process, I can design things with very complex shapes and patterns that I would never have tried before but which the laser can cut in seconds.
The pieces that I want to interlock or connect like a model kit are now easy to configure. This also means it is easier to create pieces that can be easily assembled and disassembled.
The biggest problem now is finding the budget to pay for laser cutting time.