Sunday, 11 July 2010

It's been so long!

I was shocked to see the last time I had posted an entry! It has been crazily manic at work since Christmas & the time has flown, but still, that's a shockingly long gap!

I'm still ploughing through the MA. Currently I'm working on an animation based on: Non linear time & space. I went to Spitalfields on Sunday (a few weeks ago) for a recce and took some time lapse photography with a lovely camera that one of my students lent me (Panasonic HDC-HS700) - it was on a beautiful, sunny & hot day but was a nightmare travelling on the train... I got some footage, but it was only 3 seconds long even though I took the photos continuously for around 40 minutes (by then the battery ran out). I went to Spitalfields again last Sunday (another hot one), and on the suggestion of a fellow tutor I took an hour of film with a College camera, so that I could speed it up & slow it down in Premiere or Final Cut.

During my venture to Spitalfields, I stumbled across an excellent artist/illustrator, his name is Tom Lewis, I asked him if he had ever thought about animating his characters & he told me that a studio was currently interested in doing that, so I will keep a look out on his website for the animation ( I also thought he would be a great person to come in & talk to the students about character design. See a couple of examples of his illustrations below:
........Back to the filming - I had found a pub on a corner (the previous Sunday), that had real character, but I took it from a different angle this time and got a bit closer to aim more at the passers by in more detail. I had a bit of trouble with Premiere, as I have not used it before. I couldn't work out how to capture the footage as I am so used to using digital rather than mini dv tape. I spoke to Suzanne from Media, at work and she explained how to capture the footage and I finally got somewhere. I did a search on the Internet for how to speed up & slow down the footage & found a good video tutorial:  - after viewing the tutorial, it was straightforward to speed up and slow down sections of footage. [I will put the footage up here at some point, so that the before and after can be viewed]. I am now working on the characters that I want to place into the animation. I was pretty lucky with the footage as there are quite a few appropriate moments that I can get the animated characters to interact with the passers by. This makes a refreshing change as prior to this I was working on a mixed media animation that just would not go right.....

I had a digital video camera bought for me for Christmas (with a hard drive), so I ventured out just after the snow cleared to take some footage - while I was filming, I slipped and hurt my dodgy arm - then I had sooooo much trouble getting the footage from the camera, I spent most of the Christmas hols trying to sort it out, then when I did get the footage, the quality was awful :( I then took it into After Effects...... another new venture for me...... and I tried to enhance it as much as I could and tried to keep going with making this animation. In the meantime I took the offending video camera back because I was not impressed - but kept persevering with creating some characters and experimenting with the masking techniques in Flash to incorporate the 2D with the live footage. I had such a mare with that as well. I was making movie clip animations and could not work out why the masking wasn't working????? It took so many hours of wasted time to realise that I had to turn the movie clips into graphic symbols as for some reason masking will not work with those movie clips!!! Aaaaaagh.... so much time wasted on that! Another thing I found out from working with this animation is that Flash couldn't cope if I put the footage into a movie clip. It went comotose and kept spinning the little circle for eternity - I had wanted to zoom into the film within Flash - but Flash Said NO!! Anyway, suffice to say that even after so much time and effort the animation was as flat as a pancake - so I am now relieved to leave it behind and move on with something new! The only salvation is that some of the masking is good and it has helped me to develop the use of masking, so I'll be brave and put the animation here, even though it is dire - it shows the techniques I was working on.

Here are some ideas that I had for this; from my sketchbook:

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