Friday, 3 September 2010

Animation Production Diary [Tuesday – Thursday: Plans & Recces]

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 on location in rural Kent, UK.

Animation Production Diary [Tuesday – Thursday: Plans & Recces]
Having planned to use the technique 'pixilation' to convey the movement of the child actress and with no real prior experience of this technique, it seemed best to counteract the numerous production risks of working with a young child, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark and for the first time, by carefully planning each sequence in advance. I also took the opportunity to recce the most complex model of the entire production, 'The Legs', which paid considerable dividend when it came to the production of that sequence.

Animation Production Diary [Friday: Working With Children]
Despite the old adage, the child actress, her Mum and I worked hard during Friday for a successful outcome. Good planning minimised the time taken to set up each shot, which in turn reduced the mind-numbing boredom of the animation process for both child and parent alike. Some issues of note for future productions included:

Keeping focus was difficult, as even the best behaved children tend to fidget when adults decide that a tripod needs to be readjusted or light source must be moved, etc. As such I had to constantly check the camera before each sequence began in order to keep the focus tight.

The long exposure used in the low light (typically over 1 second), increased the risk of image blurring, due to the increased risk of small movements by the model whilst exposed. Again, children tend to move about more than adults (or plasticine) in these circumstances.

Last, kids are great, but you can only push them so far in a day. Again, careful planning meant I was able to get the most from the time available with the child actress. Where (small, hopefully recoverable) continuity errors were made, was where I deviated or failed to refer back to the storyboards and shooting notes I had made in advance. Bugger!


  1. Love the piccie!
    p.s. did you take time off for your birthday?

  2. Thanks and yes, we went for a picnic of the Heath on my birthday :) x