Sunday, May 11, 2008

Grey Heights Guesthouse

My second TAIS MonsterJam entry, 'Grey Heights Guesthouse' is finished! I'm ahead of schedule, now I just have to post my entries to Canada.

Here it is:

Yup, it's short, but 10 seconds is not a lot of time to tell a story in! It was inspired by my fiance Daz, who spends a lot of time staying in B&Bs and guesthouses when he's working away. Some of the places he has stayed in have been very very grim. You know you are staying in a real budget guesthouse when the monster under the bed looks more comfy than the bed itself!

I shot the entire thing in a different way to my previous shorts. Because my puppets usually speak, I normally have to plan my animations frame by frame to fit with a pre-recorded soundtrack. This time I planned nothing. I knew I had to shoot it as at least two different scenes, and finally decided on three during shooting. I knew what needed to happen, so I just animated the characters, taking as many frames as it took. Then in post-production I could adjust the speed of movements by cutting frames or slow them down by duplicating frames. I could also get rid of a few bad frames, where a body part was not moving in a smooth line, because that female puppet was an awkward sod to animate smoothly. I then cut the three sections so that they would fit together as one sequence of 300 frames.

I lit the set using reflected light from an angle poise lamp with a 60W daylight simulation bulb, bounced off the off-white wall to the right of my animation table and onto the set. The darkened room effect I did in post-production, layering a circular gradient getting darker at the edges onto the frames, one frame at a time (yawn...). The light fades were done the same way, adding a transparent black layer and changing the opacity from frame to frame. I also had to edit out a major blanket movement crisis in the section where she is stroking the monster's hand. The blanket was taped in place and sprayed with hairspray to stiffen it... and then I went and leant on it mid-scene, because I am a clumsy fool.

The sound was added later in what I can only describe as an experimental trial-and-error fashion along with some basic maths as I know nothing about sound editing. The various sounds are a recording of me roaring before stuffing a pillow in my face and some sound clips shared free of charge by their creators on I then layered together me roaring, two different creaky bed noises, a background storm, some spooky orchestral chords and a music box. It is probably a horrific mess, but I did my best!


Grant's Animation said...

Hi Ceri,

As a member of TAIS I can assure you they will LOVE your entries. She certainly solved her rusty bedspring problem and found a comfortable alternative in the monster. Funny twist on a classic scenario.

Woolly Monster said...

Thankyou Grant, glad you liked them. Just got to get them posted now...

Hermanos Encinas said...

very very funny!

I love this under-bed-monster

Shelley Noble said...

So sweet the way you have the guest cuddled on the monster like that. You know, that would make for an excellent children's story!