Category

Press

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.

Studio Showcased As Part of ‘Innovation 50’ List of Companies

By | Awards, Behind The Scenes, Broadcast, Innovation, Motion Control, Nominations, Press, Promotions, sony, stop-motion | No Comments

The Report

The Innovation 50 report – showcasing the fifty most innovative businesses across the region – has launched this week. Led by legal firm, Mills & Reeve, the report sought to create ‘an in depth index of some of the Midlands’ most forward thinking companies.’ We’re delighted to announce that Second Home Studios has been included in the list for our recent development of an essential new piece of equipment: the Manta Motion Control system. As a practical studio ever keen to innovate our stop-motion animation work, the rig adds a new dimension to what we do. It was developed in conjunction with the brilliant Richard Sykes, and was designed to facilitate both animation and live action client briefs. The rig provides multi-axis camera control allowing for incremental stepping whilst animating. When the animation is played back, this creates the illusion of a camera move in real time. The rig is also set up for time-lapse photography, or filming of live-action elements. The rig is controlled using CNC controllers which dovetail seamlessly with industry standard animation software.

Criteria

The studio is well versed in motion-control (or ‘MoCo’) application. In our 12 year history, we’ve used MoCo on several projects, often having to hack mechanical movers to get the desired control of motion for either the camera or miniature models being filmed. The Manta rig gives us a wealth of new control for all manner of animation projects. The judging criteria looked at what each business was trying to improve and gauge the measured results of this improvement. For us, this came in the form of three commissions from Sony Pictures Television.

Highly Commended…

The expert panel who compiled the list recognized this step-up in motion-control as worthy of mention as part of the report. The inclusion was also badged up as being ‘Highly Commended’ for being a particularly noteworthy submission. The report featured some truly inventive companies from all sectors; our personal favourites being the environmentally beneficial Aquapak Polymers, smart building inventors, Vanti and Borroclub for its sustainable consumer model of borrowing rather than buying. We’re really proud to be given consideration alongside these other people. Here’s a snapshot of the feature in the report:

 

 

The Fundamentals of Animation

By | Design, Food for thought, Pilsner Urquell 'Legends', Press, Publication, stop-motion, Uncategorized | No Comments

A nice thing happened recently. The second edition of The Fundamentals of Animation was published and our ‘Legends’ film for Pilsner Urquell was covered in some great detail in the book’s ‘Design as Concept’ section, together with a feature on the studio in general. Enormous thanks to Samantha Moore and Paul Wells for allowing us to be part of this. It’s one thing to be ploughing your furrow, often in the dark (metaphorically and literally) and so focused on the aims of the storyboard, that you don’t think you’re ever breaking any ground. Being interviewed by Sam and having the Legends project broken down in such granular detail made me realise that we did actually try a few new things. We’re genuinely honoured to be featured in such a staple industry publication.