Sunday, 24 April 2011

Stages, Lights and Costumes

All my posts seem to have been about puppets recently, so I thought I'd show something different today.
Pretty soon me and Josh are going to be making sets and we need a stage to build and film on. The stage needs to be very sturdy, any wobble would cause the sets to move and ruin a shot.
We plan to shoot our film on two stages. One in our university and one at home in our garage. This means we can both be working on different scenes simultaneously. Our University has most of the equipment needed for filming but we need to assemble a second set to allow us to film in our garage.

Firstly we cleared a space wear the stage table would be built. Space is a bit tight so we had to build the table in situ. We cut all the legs, making sure they were the same length and braced them.

Above you can see the frame for the table top to rest on.
( the exercise bike lives in the garage. we couldn't find a new home for it so we had to build the stage around it.)

Finally we attached the MDF board to make the table surface. The table feels really solid and heavy so there shouldn't be any problems with the set moving. The stage is roughly 6 feet wide giving us plenty of space to build sets on. Also the height of the table is important. Most stop motion animatiors prefer to work standing up. A higher working surface is more comfortable to work with.

We will be blocking out the window to stop external light entering the garage. Any variable light such as sunlight would cause flicker in the animation.

To light our set we have purchased 3 red head spot lights. These are mounted on light stands and each has a dimmer. This will allow us to control the intensity of each light independently.

Also the lights have a focus control and barn doors for fine tuning the light output.

Time to get back to puppet construction. The puppets in our film have real fabric clothes, made in a similar way to regular clothes, only smaller. Above are the early stages of Elle's dress. It's made in two parts to allow the puppet to be dismantled. This makes it easier to get the cloths onto the puppet. The join at the waist will be disguised by a white ribbon belt. You can see the character design HERE.
Also you can see progress on the Mail Mans clothes HERE on Josh's blog.

Finally,  the picture above shows the puppet after being dismantled.

In my next post I will be showing how I made the replacement faces for the puppet and how they will attach to the head.
Thanks for looking.


  1. I'm enjoying seeing your set come together. I hope your not planning on riding that exercise bike anytime soon! ;)

  2. Nice lights. May I ask where you got them?

  3. I got both the lights and dimmers from ebay.

  4. Hi, sorry this is years on i have only just found this blog and its great!!
    Im about to buy 3 red head lights, how did they work out?