Monday, 29 March 2010

MiLK HaRE Update: In The Woods

Having found a location (above), exterior shots of the derelict cabin, establishing shots of the forest and other woodland details were completed over a period of several days in late March 2010. Equipment used: Canon EOS 450D, EFS 18-55mm and EFS 75-300mm. Shot lists derived from both thumbnail boards and stills taken on the initial recce were used to plan each shoot. A mixture of both stop-motion and timelapse techniques were employed. (Note: I have opted to add the soundtrack post shoot for these sequences, unlike other 2D sequences where the soundtrack will be recorded prior to animation.)

Technical Issues Encountered & Solutions Found

Lightweight Tripod And Manual Shutter Release Unsuitable For Outdoor Stop-Motion Production:
Using a lightweight tripod and manual shutter release caused too much movement to occur in initial shoots. This was remedied with the use of a heavier tripod and remote control shutter release.

Smooth Slow Pan Difficult To Achieve In Stop-Motion:
Achieving a smooth horizontal pan was problematic as I had opted to use a single shooting approach (rather than an automated continuous shooting approach) to enable greater control over camera functions such as exposure and speed on a frame-by-frame basis. To achieve a smoother pan, regular increments on the base of the tripod head were used to allow me to pan the camera. Note: As the increments on the tripod are relatively wide, eyeballing was required to move by far smaller increments between them, to achieve a slower, smoother pan.

Windows Vista Cannot Read Or Copy Files From The Camera's SD Card:
A scary moment! Although the data had been recorded and was available via the camera interface, faults in the Windows Vista OS rendered some files unreadable. The solution was to use MS-DOS to list and copy the files from the SD card to a local directory. Since, I have found that following each shoot, if the SD card is reformatted (rather than simply erasing the file data) Windows Vista can read and copy the files without error (touch wood).

Adobe Premiere Pro (1.5) Cannot Find Audio Drivers And Will Not Launch:
Again a problem with Windows Vista. A recent auto-update by the Vista OS had somehow disabled the audio drivers, rendering them unavailable to the operating system. As a consequence, on start-up Adobe Premiere Pro (1.5) provided the following error and would not load: “Adobe Premiere Pro could not load any audio drivers. Please reinstall Adobe Premiere Pro and start again”. The solution was to download and install the Universal ASIO Driver For WDM Audio from the ASIO4ALL website at HUGE thanks to Marc for this tip, otherwise I could have spent forever trying to resolve it!

Blu Tak (Sticky Tack) Won't Stick To Cold Metallic Objects:
Seriously, it won't! Bloody stuff!

I intend to colour correct frames in Adobe PhotoShop/After Effects for the final production and add rotoscoped 2D animation over some sequences in post production. However, the unadulterated frames outputted as video can be viewed at the MiLK HaRE AV Clip Library on Vimeo. These are distributed under a Creative Commons licence.

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