Lights! And Tears…

Oh, the drama, the highs and lows, the exaltation and abysses of stop motion animation…

These past couple days have been extremely exciting, but today ended in tears as my very first shot of the film failed.  About a second in, I started to notice that the puppet’s head was looking a little distorted, but was convincing myself it was a trick of the light or bad resolution of the preview.  As it got worse, my excuses lost their footing, and I suddenly remembered that the very first edition of Sabela had a flaw in its design.  How this flawed head made it onto the final puppet, I don’t know.

But here’s the good news!  Marcus Elliott, SuperDOP, came by 2 days in a row and built a most elaborate setup for this first shot of Sabela.  Somehow I think he used every single grip stand, every scrap of black foil, and almost every light to light up this little scene.  And I thought it was a simple scene, with just the puppet and a window, backed by a blurry, moody stage!  I was so, so wrong.

Here’s what our setup looks like:

Here’s one of our last test shots for this scene — isn’t this beautiful lighting?

And then this morning, I came bounding into to the studio with well-rehearsed dope sheets in hand, eager to start the day of making tiny objects come to life, when alas, now, at the end of the day, the champagne goes unopened, and rather than watch my little puppet sigh, Amelie-like, at her windowsill, I have instead caused her wee head to squish up into a sad, elongated doggy chewtoy.  Can you hear the violins?  *Sniff*

Here is the sad two seconds of the momentarily ill-fated Scene Thirteen, take one:

But the show will go on — I have to expect things like this to happen, especially since I haven’t really animated much in a long while.  Hopefully I’ll get there on the next try.  In the meantime, I need to modify the puppet, crowning her with a new and improved head.

Again, the good news — Just Look at this beautiful lighting!!!  Thanks Marcus, you’re a genius.  Even though ’twas I who figured out the causes of the mysterious flicker issues.  Haha.