Category

Modelmaking

Trick or Treat!

By | Behind The Scenes, Funnies, Modelmaking, Photography, Press, Promotions, Special Projects, Uncategorized, Visual Effects | No Comments

Our Halloween Homage to Harryhausen

This summer we made a brilliant new creative friendship in the form of Ian Davies, photographer par excellence. Ian is in the process of collating a 100 strong collection of portraits of people who work in the creative industries in Birmingham, only with a slight twist. The plan is to capture people in their natural creative environs in a slightly tongue in cheek way. For the denizens of a stop-motion studio, Ian came up with idea of compositing subjects in amongst some of their own miniature sets and puppets. What better source of inspiration for this than the skeleton army in Jason and The Argonauts?

Outnumbered. Still from Jason and The Argonauts.

This classic adventure film is known to all stop-motion animators for the handiwork of the late, great Ray Harryhausen (all kneel). What Harryhausen achieved using back projection techniques and film cameras was truly groundbreaking and still stands the test of time as an iconic piece of filmmaking. We had tremendous fun coming up with the designs and building the scene of 8″ skeletons on a volcanic looking mountain. Kudos has to go to Tristan Pritchard (sporting the fetching mail armour mid-left) and Amanda Haas (the badass drill queen mid-right) for getting stuck in with much of the model making work, including custom branded shields.

We borrowed some re-enactment armour from studio pal David Checkley (and some household appliances), and took off to Ian’s studio to shoot the additional plates. Stir in some photoshop and hey-presto: a battle scene with the undead.

Meet the Bone Gang

About The Project

Of his ongoing project, Ian had this to say: “My Brum Creatives portrait project came about when I was assisting in London. I got the hump over so many people mocking Brum – the city and the accent. I had the chance to shoot Michelin starred chef, Glynn Purnell and Mick Scully, a local crime writer, then realised there was a potential project in shooting creative professionals from Birmingham. I shot 30 odd portraits over 18 months while I was still living in London and exhibited here in 2015. I had some time off and restarted in 2016.
It’s a great way for me to meet so many interesting people, people I may not meet otherwise. It’s also a great way to build my folio, try out new techniques and I get to see and work in some really interesting locations within the city. It’s a no brainer for me and something I’ll continue with for the foreseeable future.  Essentially it’s celebration of the amazing talent that we have in Brum and a chance for me to do what I love without constrains of a client brief. I absolutely love working on it.”

We’re really privileged to be part of a project which features so many of our own local heroes. Thanks, Ian. Big grins.

Puppets Galore

By | Modelmaking, Puppetry, Share A Story | No Comments

Just for laughs we’ve compiled a clip reel of our projects where we’ve worked with traditional puppetry, featuring marionettes and/or rod-controlled and hand-controlled puppets. It makes a great change when we can shoot with these, combining all the best bits of modelling and miniature set building but meaning we can shoot 17 takes if we want to like all the live action people. Featured here are the Diet Coke ‘Love It Light’ Facebook films, The Crocodile Trap, A Shark Who Swallowed The Sea and a music video for Goodnight Lenin for their track Wenceslas Square, co-produced with Prime Objective and Nice Monster. Plus there’s some other bits and bobs featuring traditional puppetry in some guide. Enjoy.

Photoreal Passion Project, Pug ‘Sculpted’ In Clay

By | CGI, Computer Modelling, Design, Modelmaking, Photo real, Post-production | No Comments

Here in the studio while the paint dries and the renders crawl towards completion, we’re always mulling over new ideas or trying out new things just for the love of it. So, in between commissioned projects over the past six months, our meticulous and brilliant Post-Production Assistant, Marija Salajeva, set herself the task of creating a virtual model of a pug as though it had been modelled in clay by hand. The intention was to create a photorealistic scenario, complete with crumbs of clay and cold coffee. As we’re so familiar with working in clay (and often so engrossed in work that drinks get ignored) there was plenty of live reference around the studio for Marija to draw from. The effect is a scene in which the ‘modeller’ has just finished their work and has left the sculpting table. Judge for yourself, but we think it’s a fascinating and brilliant study of one artistic discipline being captured with the tools of another.

 

 

Rounding Off 2016 With More RTS Nominations. Thanks To All Our Collaborators…

By | Awards, BAFTA, Broadcast, CITV, Design, Modelmaking, Nominations, RTS | No Comments

After delivering a bunch of exciting new work during 2016, we finished the year with three more award nominations. Our contribution for CITV’s ‘Share A Story’, a tale about A Shark Who Swallowed The Sea, written by Heidi Hogarth was among the nominated films in the Children’s BAFTA Short Form Category. The same film was also nominated twice in the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards, for Best Production Craft Skills and Best Fictional Television Programme. This project is our fifth project involving traditional puppetry. You can find more like this here. Huge thanks go out to all who worked with us on this project.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – Building Narnia in Miniature

By | Behind The Scenes, Design, Modelmaking, stop-motion, Theatre Projection Design | No Comments

I used this post originally to keep the production office and other members of the creative team updated privately on progress here at the studio during the latter development stages and rehearsal process. It was a really useful tool for inviting feedback and allowing cross-collaboration with Stage and Costume Designer Tom Scutt.