Thursday, 2 September 2010

Animation Production Diary [Sunday: Animation Starts!]

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: Animation Starts!]
Despite having finalised much of the set Friday and Saturday, I was still tasked with setting up lighting and finding key shots late into the afternoon before any animation could commence. As time sprinted away, my lack of sleep, food and well-being began taking its toll on my ability to function. The schedule was slipping out of my hands and to be honest I was beginning to loose the plot. I just wanted to rest, eat and get better! Fortunately, the assistant animator returned that evening ready for work. 'Let's go to the pub!' I beamed (a dreadful temptation merely five minutes stroll away.) 'No' she replied, 'You're wasting time, you need to get on!' A minor row erupted - but following a brief sit down, a tuna fish sandwich and several strong cups of coffee, we pressed on late into the evening - as of course, we had to.

Notes On Lighting:
The problem with spooky, moody lighting is that it's quite difficult to conceive. I'd wanted to use the warm, flickering glow of natural light from the outset, which was a good job really, as there was no immediate power supply in the stables, so either electrical equipment had to run on batteries or other alternatives needed to be sought. Natural light sources used included tea lights, (which were placed safely behind the glassware on the selves in order to cast light through the coloured liquids in these vessels) candles and paraffin lamps, (which were used to animate light in various sequences, notably those during the 'earthquake'). This bought the environment inside the cabin to life, a theme which is repeated throughout the animation in one form or another. To combat the orange 'wash' that natural light sources cast over all objects, and to highlight more complex colours on objects, 'daylight' blue LED spot lights were used to pick out items from the background (provided by miniature battery-operated Stanley torches).

Animation Production Diary [Monday: Back In The Driving Seat]
Slept (kind of) on-site again Sunday evening, but finally got back in the driving seat during Monday. Managed to re-shoot some sequences from the previous evening and also complete a recce with the assistant animator, who would act as a stand-in for some pixilated sequences where she could replace the child actress. Although we were now approximately one full day behind original schedule, I'd been able to rearrange our shoot with the child actress for the following Friday, and had negotiated some extra time to complete the production. Phew!


  1. Wow!!! Full on Babe!!!! Naughty, not taking care of yourself!!! But then I suppose every artist has to suffer for their art!!! It's all looking so good!!! Having trouble waiting!!! Love and hugs. xxx Sue.x

  2. The stuff that legends are made of. Love the insights. Reminds me for a moment of Eraserhead (big surprise, I know), with Lynch living on the set...

    Keep it up. Look forward to learning more.

    - Marsh Mallow