More Tales Fromt The Cave


Boat, Placed in the Cave Set.

Today was the first Studio Monday without visitors, but even though I made the best of it.

The next top on my To Do list for my Orpheus film project was to build the boat of Charon the ferryman. (That alone took me about six hours today.) As always I started with the basic shape made of strong cardboard and hot glue:


Basic Boat Shape.

A few months ago I mad a small lantern of paper which is lit by a small Ballon LED. These are battery operated little LED lamps spending their light independently from other power connections. The lantern is supposed to hang at the ship’s bow and leads the ferryman through the dark.


Boat with Lantern.

But before I finally assembled everything, I covered the boat in paper mâché and colored with several layers of acrylics, color pencil and pastel dust.


Colored Boat.

The picture on top shows the final piece placed into the cave set.

Background Animation Test

Inspired by a video I saw yesterday, I made a 10 cm small cut-out character of transparent film covered roughly with black acrylics. The joints are made of knotted fishing wire. – Don’t ask, it was painstaking.


First of Three.

I want to animate a few dead souls on the background of the set, and I found a pretty beautiful solution for this: An overhead projector throws an image of rough rocks on a painted backdrop, and I use this black/transparent cut-out puppet for an animation on top of the projector. So there’ll be the fixed image of a cave to see, and the shadow animation on top of it. Like this:



And with a satisfied grin on my face I change the numbers of my progress bars… Right now, I’m just working the things off my list. I’m really looking forward to the animation, but I guess I have to train a bit. It was a bit rough today. But even though I am really happy with the visual results…

Funny note: I used the same sequence three times, and at the end of every sequence you can see the battery of the LED fading. – This was not by purpose…

– Supplemental

This was a rather dry report on how I made the boat. Now it’s going to be emotional:

Do you know this certain state of mind when you’re not really awake in the morning, but yet not sleeping anymore either? Today, in that situation, came a question to my mind: What if the set doesn’t fit the needs of my story? What if the camera angels I established in the storyboard doesn’t work? What if I just built it all wrong?

Do you know these panic moments? I’m a kind of control freak when it comes to things like this, and I seldom make major mistakes in such a project. But what if…?

To avoid further panicking, I just went down to the basement studio to take some control shots with a snapshot camera, and yes, it seems that everything seems to work nicely. Tf, tf, tf!


Final Cave Stage/Collage.

22. March 2011 by Jessica
Categories: Stuff | Tags: , , | 5 comments

Comments (5)

  1. cool! love the shadow puppet effect. works great! set looks awesome

  2. Fantastic, Jessica! We are all here with you each Monday, remember!

    Great progress!

    Loving that test!

    Loving the LED dimming–bonus animation automatica!

  3. Rich, Shelley, it’s so good and encouraging to have people like you around!

    Rich, I’m glad that the shadow animation is working and looks so good.
    And Shelley, your spirit (or is it Halfland’s?) is always with me whenever I try to build something, because your works are so inspiring, too!

    Thank you both for being here!

  4. the ‘shadows of themselves’ floating by half transparent look great… lately I found a book upon Yuri Norstein’s ‘Tale of Tales’ and the ghostly way the appear to be, the half translucent, memory like substance… really well exectued. Have you seen lately the ghost stalking Jeffrey Roche’s cemetery set ? Also grand – completely suiting their world and set; like here.
    The boat looks lovely. And for the question, how to incorporate something that might not suit in size into a miniature set – I guess there will always be some kind of path around that…

    So progress progress and all so looking well – a pleasure to browse and read and look and get excited by the ideas how this all will work out together when finished !

  5. I love the work of Yuri Norstein, it’s delicate in every aspect!
    Oh, and I had a look at Jeffrey’s website as well. His cemetery is completely different from mine, but you’re right: each solution works pretty good and all parts come together nicely.