Spring Quarter complete, on to the summer work

Hey everyone,

So yeah, between the last minute rush that comes with week 10 of a 10 week quarter cycle and then the fun of finals week, I’ve left off the blogging for a bit. But I have returned!

Week 10 I spent most of my time working on making more progress on the final animatic for my project. I managed to get about a solid 2 minutes of work done, and still have about 30 seconds more to fill out before the first pass is completed. There are already some sections that I know need to be shortened or adjusted, so even once I get those 30 seconds done I’ll need to go back and adjust a few things. But I was still proud of the amount of work I was able to get through, and once I get it all ship shape and timed out with a scratch track, I’ll post the new animatic here to the blog. So I don’t have quite as much to show in this post in terms of pictures as I have in some of my past posts.

I did get some more work done on the stage sections though. I made another run to the hardware store and picked up some more screws, and then attached the plywood lids to all three platform sections that I have so far.

Photo May 09, 7 40 40 AM

I also spent most of this past weekend measuring and marking out where the holes will be drilled for the leg sections for all the platforms as well as picking up some of the cross-piece material for that I no longer had when I figured out that I had measured wrong before. So I now have all the materials I need, and am slowly making progress on drilling all those holes.

As you can kind of see when I took that picture of the finished stage platforms, my studio had devolved into a disaster over the course of the spring quarter. Once finals were over two week ago, I took a bit of a break from the actual pre-production work, and spent some time making some order out of the chaos. Not only did I take the time to generally straighten up and to vacuum out some of the sawdust of leftover foam pieces from the puppet building, but I also dragged an old TV stand I had in storage into the studio so I’d have a sturdy piece of furniture to keep Raul the drill press on. Most of the furniture in the studio is old Ikea desks that have been taken apart and moved to various apartments about 5 different times. That much moving wears on particle board furniture and I didn’t really trust the pieces I had to support the weight of the press without collapsing on me. So after a few days of work and a quick modification to the TV stand so the top no longer rotated, I had my nice clean new studio.

Photo May 21, 5 19 00 PM

Photo May 21, 5 19 06 PM

I’ve already covered a good section of the floor in more sawdust as I’ve been working on drilling the leg holes today, but hopefully I’ll be able to maintain it a little better now that it’s organized more efficiently.

This week I’m going to try and get myself prepped to start shooting soon. I want to get at least the larger stage section completed and assembled, and have at least one puppet body clothed and with attached hands and feet by the end of the week. Working off of my shot list, I’ve determined that I have roughly 15 different sets that need to be built for this project. My plan is to make a set blueprint with measurements and materials lists for my first set this Friday, purchase the materials over the weekend and spend next week on the construction. Once the set it built, I’ve given myself three weeks to shoot all the shots that take place on that set. If I take roughly four weeks to complete the work on each set, I’ll be finished in time to screen next spring and get my degree.

Some sets have fewer shots to them than others and some have a lot. The four weeks per set is mostly a rough guideline so I can keep general track of how I’m doing. Some sets are actually going to be done with motion graphics and the animated puppet will be composited in. This summer is going to be pretty busy for me outside of the thesis work with many of our friends planning on visiting, plus a wedding we’re going to be attending back east which we’re combining with a visit to see our families which will keep me out of the studio for a week. I’m hoping to work the schedule out so that I can just bring a laptop along and get some of the motion graphic sets and compositing elements completed during that trip. At the very least I can work until my battery dies on the flights back and forth to try and make up some time. It’ll be nice to be able to focus on my project without having a part-time job or another  class to divert my attention, but I can tell I’m still going to be very busy over the next several months. Still I’m feeling a lot better health-wise and my family has been hugely supportive so I’m feeling hopeful.

While my Monday-Friday workweek is mostly going to be focused on working on animating whatever shot is in the queue. I plan on spending at least one weekend day a week making further progress on other construction and production elements I’ll need for the project. One of the first items on my lists is to start working on building a moving camera rig for the longer shots that require the camera to pan. After that I plan to work on finishing up my secondary puppet characters, completed the design of their clothing and dressing them as well as carving their heads and facial expressions.

Well that’s about all the news for the time being. More updates to come in the future!

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