Saturday, 4 September 2010

Animation Production Diary [Sunday: Dawn Of The Dead]

The following are production diary excerpts from a two week period at the end of August, in which the stop-motion sequences inside the witches' cabin were produced whilst on location in rural Kent, UK.

Animation Production Diary [Sunday: Dawn Of The Dead]
Arrived refreshed Sunday afternoon, for the final stint. The production schedule demanded that work continue through the night once again to ensure that one take of each outstanding sequence was completed. Any time remaining would be used to re-shoot sequences and dismantle the set, before transport would arrive the following afternoon to move props and models off-site. Gallons of strong coffee later, I finished the last sequence at 5:30am only to be back on set at 8:30am for a crucial re-shoot of the complex 'Legs' sequence. More coffee please!

Animation Production Diary [Monday: In The Can]
With the final, most complex sequence to complete - anything that can go wrong, will go wrong! Lack of a full-sized monitor on set had meant I had missed mistakes in the previous take (I could only preview and review frames shot via the small LCD screen on the camera) and as a result, this sequence needed to be repeated. Tensions in the model had now changed due to new materials and underlying fissures that had been caused during the first take, making the model slip about more during each frame taken. Further, I had underestimated the forces that would be exerted on the table over both takes, and although I had weighted down the table during set-up, some movement crept in toward the end of the sequence. Fortunately, however, overall the sequence was successful and these frustrations could be simply chalked down for future reference. The set was then dismantled and packed in a fraction of the time it took to erect!

Role Of The Assistant Animator
Crucial support for me (director/lead animator), the assistant animator helped build some props, source objects, moved natural light sources frame-by-frame during 'earthquake' sequences, acted as a stand-in for the child actress during more complex pixilated sequences and also moved the legs of the most complex model under my direction for the final, dramatic conclusion. She was an invaluable support throughout the production process.

And that's a wrap!

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