Click on any image to ENLARGE

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Minature's update Part B.

Minature's update Part A.

Mawk with a little bit of color.

From the pool of found Polaroids.

A Polaroid of an early portrait of Mawk that was framed and hung inside the doll house.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Although we're not planning on shooting the interior of the doll house for the current script, here are some early black and white test shots to illustrate the ornate details we'll all be missing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


After numerous rewrites, the kind that inevitably take place once a production's in full swing, we figure that 1/2 the scenes have been shot and finaled.On another note, I need to adjust the shot statistics to reflect not only the frame count, but an accurate scene count as each scene often contains 3 or more shots.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Beauty shot.

The Night Visitor.

Here stands Damon Bard with dinner in hand. Many of you have seen his character sculpts in the dozens of films he's worked on. Some may be more familiar with his fine art bronze castings. If you haven't seen his immense talents, take a moment to visit his website:
But before dining, he stopped in the studio to chat up Chuck when oops...
There lies Damon's dinner sprawled out across the floor and resting snugly against our overhead light c-stand. It's lucky the sandbags kept things steady and straight as Chuck was on day two of a three day shot.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Holly, you've been gone far too long. Come home.

There are several earlier posts illustrating Holly's numerous contributions to the film (from painting skies and puppets to knitting miniature sweaters and hats.) Well, very early in February she took a fancy pants faux finishing job in Costa Rica. Presumably the job would be two weeks to a month. It's now nearly the middle or March and she's still there either working or waiting for materials to clear customs. I'm sure she's frustrated and more than ready to come home.
We miss you Holly.
Get your butt back to Emeryville.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It may just as well be a children's book.

I mentioned earlier that Will Groebe would be getting a post dedicated solely to his drawings. These storyboard samples helped us tremendously to flesh out not only the camera angles and sets, but the pacing and mood as well.
With such grace and speed, Will sketched out shots during lunch breaks as fast as we could describe them.
What a talent.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Progress of the Accidental Engineer: or why we chose to shoot the first 10 scenes again.

*note: I'm having some trouble loading poster frames for the 3 clips below, but they are there.
Some at Tippett Studios may remember late last year when Chuck Duke walked away from his desk, and more importantly his computer, to work on his very own stop motion film. They may also remember when he didn't come back in January as expected. The word on the QT was that he had to re-shoot the first part of the film. This is true, but not without good reason.
From the beginning, I made a fuss about the motion of the dock. We tried our best to get a natural movement without spending a year to do it. The closest we could come was smooth, but not rocking.
Here's a dump from the frame grabber of the first shot. As you can see, it looks as if we're simply raising the dock up and down on a tripod. We literally were.

Press Play
Here's what Chuck accidentally engineered. By pitching the center of the dock between 3 and 9 degrees and rotating it incrementally he managed to get a steady rocking motion.

Press Play
This more complex movement and sense of queasiness is why we chose to re-shoot the first 10 scenes. It's going to be worth it.

Press Play

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Taster's choice

You've asked for a peek.

I cut this scene from a particularly long shot (nearly 400 frames.) For reference, we're using a LunchBox DV digital frame grabber and a pretty unforgiving digital camera (the kind you'd find used for security.) The benefits of the video are registration, clarity, and a deep focus, but the pitfall is ambiance. This is missing the entire mood and look of true film that will hopefully be present in the final.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Here we are posing with our Bolex Rex5 16mm camera. We initially intended to shoot the film on a mint condition 8mm Bolex Chuck had sitting on a shelf in it's original box. But then somewhat serendipitously, a friend, who owed me a bit of money, was just happening to be unloading this Rex5. We ran a plethora of light leak tests and shot several hundred feet through a series of lenses: a 25mm, 75mm YVAR and a 10mm. The footage was stunning. So much so that when we considered shooting on digital (which has come a long long long way,) we still opted for film.
Who's the tool?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Feedback loop

We've received a lot of requests for snippets of actual footage, rough or final shots to give a taste of the animation so far. We'd like nothing more than to show-off the finished product, but we have yet to see it ourselves because we're using actual 16mm color film. We shoot on 100foot rolls, each of which can hold about 1/2 the finished film. Of course we're not naive enough to pile so much on one reel, but we do plan on processing all the footage in small batches. But then we have a negative which needs to be transfered, and that we plan to do in one stretch since the labs charge by the hour.
In the meantime, we have frame grabber footage that's under hard light. Truly unflattering. These clearly show the quality of the animation, but do little to demonstrate the atmosphere and vibe of the film.
I'll post a clip or two later this week as an appetizer.