Monday, March 30, 2009

"Moving Day" Crew at the Phoenix Film Festival

For all you Phoenix locals, the MOVING DAY crew will be at this year's Phoenix Film Festival. No, the film's not done yet, so we won't be screening anything. We will, in fact, be there to spread the word about MOVING DAY and what we're all about. In a future post, we'll show you what we'll be wearing so you can spot us easy.
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Set Lighting Tests

I figured I would do a few lighting tests now that the exterior test set for the house has finished. The main purpose for doing lighting tests is to find that perfect mood you want for the film and to see how the light can create a specific feeling for the house by it's shadows an reflection.

Now, the test set was painted gray, more for lighting excersizes and because we weren't entirely sure which color we would like in the end. The gray also allows us to look at the structure of the house in different colors based on the gels we use on the lights rather than create a house for each color we would like to see it in.

So click on "Read More" for basic walkthrough and images of a few lighting tests done on the set.

So the first lighting test was with more abstract and extreme colors like blue and green. Now keep in mind that this is supposed to take place in the early morning. These colors would not work very well. At least not for the morning:

I do like the green but it does not stay true to the script. Story is king! Maybe I'll use it for some more intense inside shots.

Now let's try something more warm like the rising sun. I thought almost immediately of some kind of purple but unfortunately it was a little too strong:

As you can see it was a bit too much. I went a little lighter, a little more yellow or orange.

We're getting closer. It's warmer and as you can see from the other images as well, the audience should be able to guess where the light source, or the sun is coming from; behind the house. It still doesn't quite look as "morning" as I would like it to be so combining a few gels on my fill, back, and keylight such as "yellow", "deep orange" and "rose" should do the trick. and viola!

Not too bad. Now am I married to this? Nah.. there will probably be a few tweaks here and there but it's definitely a good start.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chris test scuplt

Alright, I have been meaning to post this pictures for a while now but have been wrapped up in our little figurine "side project" for the past coupla' weeks and haven't had time!

One of my first tasks with this project as head armature fabricator is to make a "rough draft" of each character so we can all decide on a final design for each. It may sound like an extra step, but it really saves a lot of future headaches to get everyone on the same page now!

To see the steps, click "Read more"

To start, here is Chris, our main character, from start to almost finish:

I made a basic armature out of some extra wire I had laying around. Keep in mind, this is not the type of wire I would be using for the final characters, but is just for the rough drafts (I think it is an extra roll of galvanized steel I had lying around, which would be much too resilient for an animatable character. Perfect for a rough draft though). For the final copies I will be using either aluminum or annealed steel, with epoxy putty for the 'bones' between the joints.

Next, I melt clay around the armature using a double-boiler (if you are following along, be careful. The stuff is hot and sticks to you as it burns the flesh away from your bone. Yes, it is that dramatic)

Now comes the sculpting! First the basic shape.....

That's looking pretty good. But to get any more detail, I am going to HAVE to have this guy bolted down. Unfortunately, I don't have any wood....

After a quick trip to Home Depot, I have some good 2x4's to bolt these suckers down.

Much better! Good thing I bought a clamp while I was at Home Depot too:

Now that I have his basic shape, it's time to start adding some details. I am dying to see how those bunny slippers come out, so let's start with those:

After making these, it occured to me that I want the ears to flop over about half-way up the ear, and I also want them to move as he walks around. For the final version of Chris, I will stick some wires in the epoxy of his feet so I can shove them through the ears and control them. Until then, they will just jut out awkwardly like they are now.

Rusty thought the chin needed to be much narrower than the concept art showed once he saw him in 3D, so I chopped it down. Sorta looks like an alien, but all that will change when the eyes get put in.

I am going to begin putting on the layers of clay now. Always start with the lowest first, which is almost always skin:

Then the shirt...

Now the pants....

I like it, but it still seems a little boring. Let's try a pattern....

That's pretty cool, but I don't know what the rest of the team is going to think. Guess I will have to get their appoval before we make this decision final.

So this is as far as I can come so far! I need to get big enough eyeballs to fit in this guy's head (they are huge, just so you know). When I get them, expect some updates!!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Email from the Set Guy

Here is a post on the email Brian (set guy) sent to Rusty (director) on the update of building the test set.

I know this may look out of order, and there is a very good reason for that. It is. This was one of the internal updates and it was done before the previous posts. I thought you all would like to see it, and it give me something to post until my next installment is ready. Everything after this paragraph is the original post, or atleast most of it. Some names have been changed to protect the guilty and I think I got all the degrading expletives out, if I didn't I'm sorry.

Great news! The test house is 90% complete. When I say "complete" I mean done enough to get it to Rusty before he kills me. I ran into some unexpected problems so I must fly through the rest of it using some thin cardboard and some corugated cardboard. The house will be finished come Heck of high water by Wednesday, so Rusty be prepared then to take this thing off my hands.

In this installment, I will focus on the porch. Rusty I know I made the porch a little too big, that will be corrected for the final. I am going to try to use less, but we'll see how it works out. Enjoy!

Step 1: Plan your attack(3_08a.jpg) Here we see the front of the house, not much to work with here but we'll make it through.

Step 2: Lay down a foundation(3_08b.jpg) We are going to build this porch from the ground up so here we lay the foundation. For test purposes, I used 1in. thick styrofoam. For the final I will probably uses basla wood, but for now foam.

Step 3: The doorway to the other side(3_08c.jpg) This door is really a place holder. The real door will look more of less like it on wider and have two doors in it.

Step 4: The roof(3-08d.jpg) Here I have added the raised parts of the porch in the front, 2 of the supports, the roof, and carved out a step. The raised part was added by request by the director but I'm still not sure what material it should look like it's made out of: wood, stone, etc. Right now they are here for test and concept purposes. We'll figure the details out later.

Step 5: The finishing touches(3_08e.jpg) I added the last two supports and the angles to the roof. I am not sure I entirely like the extra supports so let me know what you think. For the purposes of getting this finished and in to Rusty I will forego putting the shingles on.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Here's a concept piece of Chris, our story's hero (?). This piece won't be used in the film, but it gives you the idea of what we're going for. Pretty cool, huh? Many kudos to Duane, our resident animator/artist for working his fingers to the bone so we can exploit him.
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Monday, March 16, 2009


This blog was created for you, the fans, to follow the filmmaking process of MOVING DAY. This film is a stop-motion animated short film created by Nick Stahr and the fine folks at Karma Creek Pictures. Throughout the production of this film, we'll update this blog with cool pics, how-to notes, and other fun stuff.

-Stay Posted.
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