0.L.Droid almost finished!

DSC_0938 (4)Been filming my ‘short’ Oldroid video.  I had only intended it to be a minute or so long, it’s getting on for about five minutes now!  I’ve done an arm for the Oldroid which he’s been lacking up to now.  This was sculpted in chavant and I decided to do a quick mold with plaster as I didn’t want to spend too much time screwing around with it, however as it turns out using plaster worked out really well as chavant doesn’t stick to plaster.  Having spent ages recently cleaning chavant out of fibre glass molds this is abit of a revelation.  Even better, platsil also doesn’t stick to plaster either.  Awesome.

I was worrying that I’d made the hand abit too big after all that, however I’ve found that if you have the camera above the model it looks OK (phew).

Also had abit of a problem painting the platsil – as it’s platinum based rubber rather than tin based my bathroom sealant / oil paint/ white spirit method won;t adhere to it.  I’ll have  to have abit more of an experiment with that one.

Anyway, just doing the sound effects then the video should be done, wahoo!


DSC_0717I’ve been experimenting with the lighting for my Oldroid project.  No idea what I’m doing here really, just fiddling around to see what I can come up with.  I’ve bought a couple of gels so I’ve taped various colours over my photography lights to see what I can come up with.

I’ve not been able to find much info on this online – for example are you supposed to use red gels if you have a red model, or the opposite?  No idea.

I’ve found using green and red seems to work OK, with a blue spotlight.  Guess they’re all the primary colours so maybe they cancel each other out, or combine somehow.  God knows.

It’s been complicated slightly by the fact that my SLR and Camcorder both react differently to light levels (that should’ve been obvious I suppose thinking about it) so I’ve had to have the lights one way to take some stills and another to shoot some video.

IMG_0553I think to keep things simple I’m going to do it all on my camcorder.  There’ll be a few stop motion bits in it which I’d considered using my SLR to do but I think there’s going to be quite a stark difference between the SLR and Camcorder footage if I do that.  The camcorder has a stills  mode on it anyway and the footage looks much less grainy once you get it on the computer.


gramophoneI needed a miniature gramophone for my latest film project and lo and behold, look what I found.  Amazing what you can get on ebay – it’s from a shop in india and it’s just about the right scale for the Oldroid.

I’m gonna modify it slightly – feed a rod through the base up to the turn table so the record can actually turn, make it a little more ‘steam-punky’ (glue a load of cog wheels to it basically ;0)



DSC_0520Slowly getting close to filming my 0.LDroid.  As well as building the background character 5.L.Droid (or something) I’ve also been giving some thought to a set of sorts.  Rather than building a complete set I’m going to be filming this against a black background with some minimal set details in the background.  I can then fill in the surrounding  black edges of the image with some details, perhaps warehouse walls or similar.  It should be relatively straightforward to do this by overlaying .pngs with some transparency over the image.  I don’t want to do anything too detailed, but rather give the impression of the surrounding environment.  I want it to be quite dark and ominous.

To this end I’m going to be purchasing a black background.  You can get a 6m x 3m backdrop for about £40 off ebay.  I already have the stand so that should be more than enough.  I can trim it to size (6m x 3m is way too big).  I’m also going to be getting some gels (transparent coloured sheets to change the colour of the lights).

The horror film I did recently really showed me the value of good lighting.  I didn’t really consider the effects I did for that project my best work (I didn’t think they were bad, but they’re not amongst my favourites) however having them lit and shot by a professional DSC_0436crew really elevated them to look much better than they otherwise would.  Check out this still by the DOP Stephen Murphy.  Looks fantastic.

Something that also really demonstrated this to me was a video by a very nice chap I met working on the film named Dominic Hailstone.  The video’s called The Eel and is absolutely incredible, especially considering this was all done DSC_0509with puppets and animation with no CGI involved.  Dominic is doing a short piece for the horror film  so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

All this has made me realise the problems with my previous projects; the lighting and camera work has never been very good.  In my defence, the FX are my focus and I’ve never really learnt much in the way of lighting or camera work, only what I’ve had to out of necessity, however done properly they really do add so much to a project, so I’m determined to try. I usually just stick a light on it, make sure I can see it and crack on.  Bit more thought on this aspect of the video this time round I think!

The pictures dotted about this article are my initial attempts.  They were done with a simple red cloth chucked over the spot light I was using.  I also used a blue LED torch to highlight the puppets face to make it stand out.  I’m hoping for some slightly better shots once I’ve actually got hold of some less improvised kit!

For the ‘set’ I decided to incorporate the mold that I used to make the puppets into the film.  The idea is that it’s a machine that produced copies of the droid.  In a very real way, it is.


I have another motive for taking these pics; my brother (coincidentally as it happens) has almost finished writing his steampunk inspired album ‘Spinning the Compass‘.   He’s nicked a pic for the cover of the album so I figured I’d do some slightly better ones he can use (these aren’t them though, so don’t nick these just yet Tom!).  I’ll also likely be using some of his music for the vid.

Steampunk hooooooooooo!!

Finally coming back to my Oldroid (or 0.L.Droid).  The effects for the horror film and masks I’ve been working on got in the way, but I’ve now got the time to turn my attention back to it.

Here’s the test vid I did a while ago as a reminder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GSZm5jDJ94

I’ve done a little work on the 0.L.Droid puppet itself, mostly the eyes which are now more or less working, however I’ve mostly been concentrating on a new background character which is a more primitive version of the 0.L.Droid, maybe 5.L.Droid or something ;0)


The model’s made from a silicon cast of the face of the original puppet plus various bits and pieces such as bits from old action figures, batteries, bits of wood etc etc.  It has some degree of motion – the head moves left to right and up and down and the arm also moves.  I’ll be adding a hand too.  I think I’ll animate it to put on a top hat or something ;0)

Oldroid, now with teeth and hair!

So here’re a few more pics. I’m quite pleased with this one. It’s my first serious attempt at doing a puppet in silicon. I’ve tried a few in the past but have only ever got as far as making the mold!

The eyes are only temporarily taped in. I’ve yet to build the mechanism that’ll make ’em move. I also think they’re a little bright, so I’ve ordered some dark brown ones to see what they look like.

The teeth are sculpted in miliput. These also seem a little bright against the dark skin tone, although I’ve given them a fair bit of brown discolouration. Might try and darken them abit more.

I hadn’t initially intended to give this guy any hair, but I punched abit in to see what it’d look like (and accidentally punched abit into my thumb too – ouch!) and I actually quite like it! Kinda like a clock work Albert Einstein perhaps? ;0) I’ve taped a few cogs in as well to give an impression of the final setup.