Some of the creatures have broken the locks on the door to lab 558

So I’ve finished my video for Some of the creatures have broken the locks on the door to lab 558.

I quite enjoyed working on this one as it comprised so many different techniques – scale miniatures, sculptures and puppetry, macro photography and visual effects.  I like the final video but I think it lacks a certain something.  It might just be because I’ve been staring at it for so long, but I think it needs abit more ‘oomph’ in the final few moments.  I had wanted to do some shots of the city being destroyed by the tentacles.  I had a go but didn’t come up with anything that I really liked – although I did use some 3D models within After Effects to create the city, I don’t have enough 3D modelling skills to create exploding buildings etc.  I was also running out of time towards the end as we had a deadline this time around (one of the drawbacks of having a record company behind you this time).  We’d also agreed that this video would be a little more ‘impressionistic’ than previous efforts like Beast of the Air, however I think it could’ve done with abit more destruction 😉

Here’s a shot of the tentacle being filmed.

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And here’s a the lab miniature.



I’ve been working on a tentacle for my Lab 558 video.  This is for the climax of the video, wherein the lab is breached and a cloud of pestilence and tentacles escapes and destroys the world 😉

I’ve previously posted the mechanism, this is a silicon skin that will cover it.  Here’re some pics of the initial chavant sculpt and the cast silicon skin:


As it’s a very long and thin shape I decided to make a mold of this inside some guttering pipe that I cut in half.  I then poured in plaster.  I like making plaster molds of chavant – as the clay is oil based it doesn’t stick to the plaster, so it makes separating the mold from the sculpture very easy.  Similarly, the silicon I’m using (Tinsil Gel 10 in this case) doesn’t stick to the plaster, although a layer of vaseline as a release agent is helpful.

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I’m painting the silicon using a mixture of translucent silicon bathroom sealant (Homebase own brand if you’re interested 😉 ), white spirit and oil paints. It’s not quite finished yet, here’re some pics so far though:

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It should look quite nice once it’s all covered in slime 😉 I made this using a chemical called Borax which is something used in laundry detergent  and PVA glue – there are plenty of recipes on Youtube so just search for ‘borax slime’ if you want to know how to make this.   Some of the ingredients in the recipe vids are US specific however.  As I’m in the UK I ordered the Borax from ebay (I got 1kg which is WAY too much!) and used clear PVA glue (because I wanted clear slime) – the make I used was Pritt craft glue (you can get it in WH Smiths).



Fit the Fourth

Two updates in one day?!  Yes, I’m a little busier than usual.  This is kind of tied into the ‘Lab 558‘ video that I’m currently making as it’s the album artwork for my brother’s new album.  I’ll also be creating  some inlay artwork using elements from the video.



This started off with a shot of Tom pressing his hand up against the window in the back door at mum’s house.  I sculpted a tentacle in super sculpey which he held in place.  Here’s the original image:


cleaned up the join between finger and tentacle in photoshop and isolated Tom and his hand separately using the path tool – I needed two masks as the hand’s in focus and has a hard edge whereas the rest is out of focus and has a soft edge.

We found an appropriate lab image for the background on google however as it wasn’t marked as being rights free we decided we couldn’t use it. I decided to create my own lab in after effects using some Element 3D models and some stills that I created in photoshop, positioned in 3D space.  This was handy actually as it meant I could adjust the camera angle using the AE camera to better match the foreground element of Tom.  Here’s the lab image.  It doesn’t look like much but it doesn’t need to as once it’s out of focus you don’t see so much of it:

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Finally we needed a reflection of a ruined city which I created in After Effect again using Element 3D and a few other Video Copilot stock elements.  The tentacles are from Beast of the Air 😉  This was all combined together using some grime and glass elements which I added using various blending modes in photoshop.

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Tentacle Mechanism

So here’s a tentacle mechanism I’m building for the ‘558’ video.  The song’s called ‘Some of the creatures have broken the locks on the door to lab 558‘, so we need some creatures.

I’m quite please with the motion of this one, looks quite realistic.  I’ve had a go at building tentacles before for Beast of the Air, but that one didn’t move in a particularly realistic fashion so I ended up animating it in After Effects instead.

Next step for this one is to create a silicon skin to cover it.

My previous tentacle……

Shooting miniatures

So I’ve now finished my ‘Lab 558’ miniature and am in the process off shooting it.  I bought myself a glidetrack a few years ago which is a gadget that lets you get smooth panning shots with your camera.  I’ve not really used it that much however so I’m taking full advantage of that.

I’m also trying to incorporate CG elements into the miniature shots using a camera tracker plug-in in after effects.  It’s quite clever as it not only figures out the camera move but also the lens and focus distance as well.  I’m then creating additional CG rocks and other elements to add to the lab model.

Here’s my set up.


And here’s a pic of the model.



Macro Video

I’ve been having some fun doing some more macro photography using some macro tubes that I’ve recently purchased.   I’d previously shot some video of my brother’s eye.  This time round I’m dropping food colouring, gelatin and wall paper paste into a dish of water to get some cool effects.  I’m trying to get cool biological looking shots.

I’ve lit this with some LED strip lighting I got from Amazon which works really well.


Here’re some stills from the video I’ve shot so far.

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Lab 558

I mentioned previously that I’m currently working on a new video for my brothers song Some of the creatures have broken the locks on the door to lab 558.  The video’s grown to encompass quite a few different techniques which is fun.  I’ll probably mention a few of these at a later date, but the main one is creating an actual ‘Lab 558’, which I’m doing by building a scale miniature.  This is mostly comprised of mdf, styrene plastic, polystyrene and various found objects for detailing.

I was taking a few pics last night and quite like this one.  It’s lit solely by some scale floodlights that are built into the model itself.



I recently bought myself some macro tubes which are camera add ons that sit between the camera and the lens.  Basically they let you focus on objects much closer than you typically could.  Much closer.

I’m currently working on a new video for my brother’s song Some of the creatures have broken the locks on the door to lab 558 and got a chance to use them.

Check out these shots of my brothers eye 😉