Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The stand of the GODS!

Today I received my very first piece of professional movie making equipment, a Century Stand, or C-Stand for shot. Let me tell you this is about the greatest stand you could ever use. You can adjust it between 55 and 117 inches, that’s 9 feet, 9 inches tall! Plus is has a 40 inch arm that can be moved about and that’s what you mount stuff on. They are so much easer to move around then my other light stands, which weren’t actually stands, they were ladders. The arm makes it so much more versatile then traditional light stands and makes lighting much faster. I got this for about $85 on ebay and the cheapest I can find C-Stands of this size retail is $175! Rock, rock on!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

When in doubt black it out

A little bit ago someone mentioned a bit of advice from the Sin City commentary that they thought I might find interesting, it was when in doubt, black it out. This, of course, refers to just having characters on black rather then creating a virtual set to replace that lovely green backdrop. I found this very interesting as I had just thought of the same thing after watching The Iron Giant (which I recommend). There is a particular scene where Hogarth is being interrogated in the barn and one bright light turns on and everything but the table, Hogarth, and Mansfield disappear.

The thing that jumped out at me is that I have a similar scene in Vampire, but in my head I had this nice little room planned out for it. If you’ve been following my progress you’ll know I’m at a bit of a standstill due to problems getting voice actors my sound guy together at the same time. Now I wanted finish the bar scene first because the set is complete and I have most of the dialogue recorded, however the other set, the little room, is used in two scenes, one of which only has one line which I do have recorded. I did not really want to build it because I would have to spend money on materials to build the set and right now I a bit short on cash, some people say that in stop motion you can build all your sets out of random junk that is laying in your garage, and while this is true you don’t have the stylistic freedom that you have when your willing to spend a bit of money. And in my film I want to create my own alternate reality and have complete control over this world and have complete control of look and scale. Using real objects means people will think of it as something that takes place in the real world, and I don’t want people to think of my puppets as living puppets, I want them to see characters in my imagination interacting with a world that is in my imagination. That’s why I like windows and doors in my sets, because if the camera peeps out of the constriction of the set and you see a glimpse of outside world it really sells the whole thing. I want people to imagine that they can go through doorways and walk down hallways and they won’t run into studio walls. But sometimes this causes me to forget the basic principal of less is more. If you have shots the sell the world, why can’t others hide the world? Mixing these things up should make the film visually interesting. So in the end I realized that all my set really needs are a stone table/coffin thing and a door, which when open has a really hard light pouring out of it. And that would be cheep to make; I don’t think I’d have to buy anything.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

People what say words I've written.

There is a difference between having a teacher read your essay or poem or whatever in front of class, and hearing someone read something that you have written and actually take it as seriously as vampire movies can be taken. Watching and listening to your ideas come alive--it's inexplicably cool.

As the writer I don't actually do very much, but watching it happen is simply amazing.

A mighty spire

Finally, I’ve got some progress that looks cool in a picture. This is a spire for a miniature I’m using in the movie.

Zombies: The gift that keeps on giving

I know this does not have much to do with Beyond the Crypt but this Christmas I gave a cousin of mine a clay Zombie as a Christmas present. I should have posted this around Christmas time but I was at my Grandparents house when I made the Zombie and was not using my camera to take the picture, so there was a bit of delay in getting the files in my hands. The character is not an original character, but is based on my cousin’s Zombie he made for a storyboarding class in the Art Institute of Portland. Unfortunately I did not have my lights when I took the photo so the lighting is less the ideal.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I gave film look a try

Well this week has not been good for my movie, Monday I was planning a voice acting session and all the actors would have been able to come in. However I could not get a hold of the sound guy so I had to cancel the session at the last minute. That got me looking through a Musicians Friend catalog for sound boards; some of the smaller models looked tasty until I saw the price of the mics. I swear the hardest part about making movies is getting people together.

A few days later I was looking at new presets for Effects and Composite Labs and I saw a film look plug-in. Now I’m not really sure what my stance on film look is, but I decided to give it a try. I am not satisfied using plug-ins out of the box, if I’m going for film look I don’t just want the picture to look like film, I want the whole frame to scream film, none of those half hearted attempts! I used The Wrong Trousers and The Magic Portal as reference, I’m pretty sure Trousers was shot on 35mm and I know The Magic Portal was shot on 16mm.

After I modified the film look preset to my liking I made the edges of the frame faded, but one thing I noticed from both references was that the sides were not symmetrical in there fading. So I made the right side a larger fade and on the left I made a smaller fade with an un-faded line down it. After I did this I made a black border that blurred into the frame that was also un-symmetrical. Now these effects take a hell of a time to render in 720 line high-def (about 10 min per sec of animation). All effects were made in CompositeLabs Pro (and the DV line cannot do all the grading effects I did). So my first question is, does it look like film? And secondly does it look better? Is it really worth all the trouble? (you may need to fullsize them to get the full effect)



Thursday, January 05, 2006

Rise of the Frankenstein Light

On of the problems with my par cans and desk lamps is that they cannot be focused. Also the replacement cost of a 200W par 46 lamp is $20 and I can’t get them locally. So I decided to do a little operation on one of my cans and a 250W shop lamp (I can get replacement bulbs for that lamp at about $5-6 locally).

I ripped out the wire screen in the par can and added a reflector from the shop lamp.

I used the shop lights electronics attached to a dissected music stand so I could move the lamp back and forth to create a focusable beam.

And this is the full view. I plan on replacing the ties with wire because I think they will melt with prolonged use.