Lost in La Mancha

Posted by Steve on Sep 16, 2010 in Production, Video | Subscribe

Just when you think the earthquake’s over, the city bursts into flames.  Isn’t that right, Mr. Gilliam?

When it comes to puppetry, many hands makes light work.  Just the two hands makes work more or less like a black hole, sucking in time and enthusiasm like light and matter.  Since Andy hightailed it out east I’m down to just the two.  But fret not, puppet pals.  Things don’t always go as planned, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still go.  We’re exploring with new methods to make this thing a reality.  Namely, photographing the puppets from every angle and animating them digitally, a nifty method we picked up from the astonishingly creative folks over at Tiny Inventions.

First thing’s first.  Since we already blew our budget on AV gear, I knocked together some umbrella lights the old fashioned way: with spray paint and umbrellas.  And some $10 work lights from the hardware store.

Here’s Andy’s arm dressing and posing the kids in front of a neutral white background.  It’s like school photo day if kindergartners required assembling.

And here I am in the garage giving Geer his moment under the spotlight.

Then Andy arduously Photoshopped the photo assets and put together  this test animation: look mom, no hands.

We’re feeling pretty good about the look of it, but also exploring other options.  I’ve been doing some tests performing the puppets one at a time in front of a green screen and then compositing them together.  There’s a world of possibility for how we can still pull this off, and we’re excited to devise the best way to do it.  Quite likely we’ll end up with a hulking hybrid of some sort, utilizing whatever techniques are most effective on a shot by shot basis.  If you ask me, that sort of curious amalgam would suit our show just fine.

So stick with us and we’ll walk this winding road together.  There’ll be some pitfalls and an awful lot of backtracking, but the best adventures happen when nothing goes as planned.  This is an adventure.

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