Sunday, 19 May 2013

Jumping into the Portal.

The Rabbitportal to be precise...

For my PPP presentation, I decided to discuss the work I did on a project, rather than work other people have done that have influenced me. As much as I enjoy taking inspiration from others, I find I learn a lot more when I try it for myself.

As I had only previously done stop motion a couple of times before, I was quite nervous when asked to help Matt Saunders of RabbitPortal with his latest animation, especially as it was a music video which could potentially be shown on music channels. But in true 'Sacha Style' I simply couldn't say no and let the opportunity pass so Chris Luk and I spent a good solid week in the studio helping Matt, and all three of us going slowly insane.

I was asked mainly to animate 'the elements', being the water, the snow and the volcano, but ended up being 'iron hands' (as my nickname for the week became) where I had to lower the drawbridge twice from different angles, frame by frame. I also had the job of 'floofing', which was basically moving the cotton wool which was used in most shots. Chris had the job of character animation, where as Matt had the job of directing and animating key sections.

It was great to work in such a small team on an ambitious project, but I think afterwards all three of us were feeling drained from it.

Things I learnt:
-Things go wrong, you just need to learn to be adaptable and make the most out of what you have.
-Be creative, sometimes the best ideas come out of nothing, the snow scene for example, who would have thought polystyrene blocks and a cheese grater could make such lovely snow (even if our ears were screaming at how horrible the sound was for the whole time)
-Things break. The puppets were really fragile so I had to mend them and make spares whilst Chris and Matt animated the beginning scenes.
-You can never have enough fluff, we literally used it for everything! 'We don't have anything for the foam of the waves' 'Use Fluff' 'We don't have anything for the smoke from the fire of the volcano' 'Use fluff' 'We don't have anything to use for the ice sheet on the floor' 'Use fluff'.... literally everything was fluff!
-Music videos are fun!! You have the exact timings to work to with the song, and the beat and rythm, so you know how many frames you need for each section, making it easier to animate!
-I love working with Matt and Chris! It was so good that none of us really fell out over the week, we had a few grumpy moments, but overall it worked well as a team.
-People need their personal space. Over the week we spent 12 hours a day together, if not longer. Which meant that we were together more than we weren't, with Chris staying at my flat over the duration too. I don't think Chris and I had been together for such a long period of time before, and it started to get a bit edgy as we both found it difficult to relax and sleep which made us overly tired for the following days.
-Hire the right actors if any at all! Matt had to re-shoot some sections with him acting as the actor he got didn't have enough time to do some of the sections.
-Tents are difficult to keep up, we had to keep repositioning them throughout the first few days, having tripods inside to hold them up, and various other random objects. They were also really difficult to film inside, and so small that one person could barely fit in, so doing the 'iron hands' bridge section was a pain!
-Have fun, have pizza and hummus, don't forget that you enjoy animation, don't give up, use pillows as knee pads so you don't get cold knees when kneeling, have layers of clothing (too many jumpers makes you hot, too little you get chilly, but it is good to have a choice), it's fun to work on other people's projects.

To view our finished animation, look at this vid below!

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