Room: Color Sketches

The room design with colors. Yesterday I mixed the colors for the walls, floor, and trim in a combination of warm and cool greys. I started with a quart of black and white house paint, and four mason jars. I purchased a tube of ultramarine blue (acrylic) in order to get some color variation. I still have to finish the color design for the right wall. Sunday Melissa will bring over the set pieces to the USC stop-motion room to paint and finalize the construction. Lauren will join us with the puppet-in-progress and I can post a preview of what MX-93 will look like in his room.

Depth of Field Test

Each cardboard corner is about 4 1/4 in. wide. They’re arranged about 1 1/2 in. apart. First “peak” is about 16 1/4 in. from camera lens (55 mm). I took shots with each peak in focus and at the extremes of the focus ring.

For lighting, I have an arri 150 camera right with a blue gel (spot), and an arri 300 camera left with all 4 barn doors closed in on a small square, red and green filters (also spot).

I would like to fiugre out a way to soften the shadow as it falls away from the object. Right now I think it’s too harsh. i don’t have flags or bounce cards, so that might help.

Table and Chair props

The entire thrust of my concept for the thesis film is to visually incorporate patterns of information (symbols and metaphors) in order to create a kind of text that can be read and studied. I want to learn the ways knowledge can be transmitted visually through filmic language. For example, the table follows the “v” design scheme, with a printed pattern of concentric squares in the center. Generally the square represents the material, earthly realm. The four sides and four points allude to the four seasons, the four cardinal directions, the four basic elements (air water earth and fire).  Beyond this, the square implies the foundation, or cornerstone of manifesting an idea into reality. It can also imply imprisonment, as in the case of the self that identifies only with the physical reality the square describes. For me, the table design represents the projection of an idea, from the bottom of the room’s floor upward. The concentric squares on top  are a nod to the spiral and thus to the inward movement of the self.

Lighting Test

I did a lighting test today to start figuring out how to get the contrast and mood of the film. These first three have just the key light Arri 650. The darker one top center includes a red scrim and somehow desaturates as well which I like.
The bottom row was shot with a fill/rim light Arri 150. I also closed top and bottom barn doors, halfway between spot and flood.

For the last four shots I was playing around with layering flat panels. I used the same two lights in different configurations.

Today I met with two other stop motion friends, Lauren Horoszewski and Melissa Bloom to get some help in puppet and set construction. We used the camera and stage setup to figure out the exact dimensions for the Room scene and to figure out which walls would need to be removable. I also came across the issue of lenses and I might need to find a longer lens or macro lens to get a nice depth of field for the close-ups. Today’s test was using a Canon EOS Rebel T2i with an 18-55mm lens.

My challenge for the next few days will be to commit to final design decisions, making detailed plans of both the character, room, and props. I spent the day yesterday doing a final brain-cram of sylistic references and influences from art deco to industrial interior design styles.

Robot Head – Test Model


This is a model of MX-93’s head I carved out of balsa wood. I made it too large to use as the actual puppet, but it’s helpful to understand how the different faces will catch the light on stage. It’s also the first real physical model of the character.

Switches Animation Test

I really wanted to get the computer bits I have on camera and see what they look like in motion. I pulled out a selection of switches and just did this quick motion test with Dragon software. I really like the “initiate” button and will definitely use that. I also like the combination of hardware with clay.