The most violent puppet movie. Ever.

OK so well overdue an update.  Work continues on the animation which is actually proceeding alot quicker than I imagined it would.  It’s also ended up being rather more violent than I’d originally intended (as the below video will demonstrate), but I guess I never got to indulge my horror fetish on Real 10, so no harm done ;0)

The film’s clocking in at over 8 minutes at this point which is also abit of a surprise as I’m still not done – I still need to animate the dead soldier’s ‘conversation’ with the demon and his ascent to heaven (I’ve pasted the storyline below if you dunno what I’m on about).

I’m also starting to think about audio and music.  Think I might try my hand at doing a theme tune with this rather cool web app.  The majority of music will be turned over to my brother to compose though (hope  you’re reading this Tom ;0)

‘The final story is as follows. A pair of soldiers during WWII wait in their trench. Conversation turns to one of the soldiers girlfriends, Edi, who died in a bombing back home in England. The soldier has only a photo and her necklace to remember her by. The necklace is in the shape of an eagle.

That night they are attacked and killed and their souls find themselves wandering towards the Endless Stair. They encounter the blue demon who attacks and ‘kills’ one of them by crushing his head with his groin tentacles (!).

After trying to kill the demon and failing, the remaining soldier ends up trying to communicate with it by deciphering the symbols that appear as it ‘speaks’. One of the symbols that repeatedly appears is that of an eagle. The soldier gradually realises that the demon is trying to tell him to ‘ascend’ like an eagle on the wind and find his beloved in heaven.

That’s still subject to change of course………;0)’

Exploding Heads

So I’ve been having great fun blowing up puppets today.

I created a silicon press mold of the existing puppet head then pressed sculpey (which is a flesh coloured polymer clay) into the mold.  I cooked a thin layer with a heat gun then filled the rest with sculpey and then sculpted it frame by frame to make the head look like it was exploding (heheheheheehehehehehe).

Here’s a vid showing the animation at various stages:

WWII Trench Sequence

Here’s a sequence of shots dealing with the WWII soldier characters from A Tale from the Endless Stair.  The idea is that they’re killed in battle and find themselves in the afterlife where they encounter the blue demon and the endless stair.  I’ve used the same footage of the moon for the background that I used on the previous shots of the staircase, however once they ‘wake up’ having died, the staircase will be visible in the background (it only appears to you when you’re dead or close to death ;0)

I’ve tried doing some ‘hand held’ shots for when the characters are knocked over by the explosion.  This basically involved holding the camera in one hand and the puppet in the other and moving them bit by bit. You get quite a shaky movement but it kinda works as the characters are supposed to be dazed.  The next few shots will have a bunch of german soldiers closing on their trench and shooting them dead.

The shots still need some touch ups as you can occasionally see where the set ends, things like that.  I also need to add some dialogue and proper sound effects.

More stop motion shots…….

Some more shots. I may redo some of these shots as I’m not 100% happy with them, the motion’s abit jerky and the chroma key process seems to alter the colour of the puppet – it’s really fairly pale blue, but it’s coming out quite dark.  Some tweaking is in order methinks.  Problem is of course that stop motion takes so damn long that redoing these is gonna be quite a few hours work……

One thing I have noticed is that the video looks alot better once it’s been uploaded to YouTube.  I’m doing it in HD so I wonder if my computer is struggling to play it back smoothy…..doesn’t seem likely but who knows.  It’s mainly going to be seen on YouTube once it’s finished anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter too much.

Endless shots from the Endless Stair….

So here’re some more shots from the animation. This one is my first proper attempt at getting the demon walking. Every time I’ve tried previously this has proved pretty difficult so I’m fairly happy that this one has come out more or less OK.  Obviously it still needs to have the support removed and greenscreen added over the areas where the lights are visible.

This video is a sequence of model shots mostly which have had some shots of the moon added into the background using chroma key. The shots of the moon are ones I took a while back – I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom and caught sight of the sky which looked rather cool so I shot some video.

The idea here is that the shots establish the endless stair and then the camera dives down the chasm and the demon begins to awaken.

A tale about Endless Tech Stuff……

So as mentioned, one of the videos was generated using the ’stop motion movie’ function on my Nikon D60. I was thinking about buying a digital SLR in order to get a better quality picture for the animation and this function swung me round to buying this particular camera. The function won’t produce an HD movie unfortunately, but it will do a 640×480 AVI at a variety of frame rates.

I’ve been using it as a reference to make sure my animation is looking OK as I go.

Once the shots are ready I use a program called MakeAVI to string them together. The program also allows you to crop them to the desired frame size (I’ve been doing them as 1920×1080) and then output them as a variety of AVI’s and at a variety of different frame rates.

This has been a huge help as previously I would drop the .jpgs into an editing program and line them up frame by frame by hand. It used to take ages! A big thanks to Dream Sorcerer for letting me know about it!

Arise, Sir News.

So, I’m finally coming back to my stop motion animation, A Tale from the Endless Stair,  subject to any random flights of fancy or acts of whimsy.

I’ve been ironing out some of the technical issues I encountered whilst doing the brief trailer I produced a while back.  First off I’ve made a more secure support for the demon puppet .

I’ve basically shortened the support frame I previously had so that I can clamp it to the wooden frame and adjust it as needed.

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve ditched the set so I’m now going to be animating the film in front of green screen and a partial set.

Here’s a couple of pics of the setup: