Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Digital SLR Cameras

There's a review of some DSLR cameras in the November 2008 PCPro with the Sony Alpha A200 comming out tops and making it onto their A-List. The interesting thing for me was that the price of some of these is less than I paid for my Olympus 5050Z a few years back. At this price having a DSLR would be be a plausable upgrade path for my Olympus for making stop motion films with a digital still camera. As well as this advantage there are several others such as significantly longer battery life, better shooting in low light.

Some of the Sony A200's significant features for the animator are the presets for Exposure and White balance (and the ability to set that based on colour temperatores), the optional wired remote and EXIF support. You need to be careful that your animation software or video editing software supports the camera and these higher resolutions as some software is charges a premium for HD support. I don't seem to be able to locate any information about software remote control of this camera.

There is a more detailed report on the Sony Alpha at Imaging Resources and English Manual is available on the Sony FTP site.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Smoke and Mirrors 48 hour challenge

The Post Production company Smoke and Mirrors is running a short film making competition where the challenge is to make a film in 48hours.

The entrants have to be teams from UK based advertising and production companies and must register by 10th October to be given the secret topic that they must make their film about.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Widescreen Animation

Kramer Klaymation make a good point this month about widescreen for animaton and I've blogged about how to configure Moviemaker for 16:9 and HDTV before.

One thing I'd like to add to this thought is that to get the best results you can't just add this on at the last minute. If you do that you risk having dead space or simply black bars on your work which is really just wasteful. You need to plan to have widescreen from the beginning. The change of screen format means that you have more width to work with. You need to handle the implications this will have on your set design, the lighting and the movement of the actors. You may need to make your sets at a different aspect ratio, a row of houses or castle wall might need to be longer. Will more powerful (or just more) lights be needed? Perhaps a character will have to take more steps to cross the set? This applies to all forms of animation.

Monday, September 22, 2008

London International Animation Festival Winners

From the London International Animation Festival Newsletter.

The best films as voted by the judges were:
International Programme 1: The Tiny Fish - Gregory Malshev (Russia)
International Programme 2: Skhizein - Jeremy Clapin (France)
International Programme 3: The Life Size Zoetrope - Mark Simon Hewis (UK)
International Programme 4: The Irresistible Smile - Ami Lindholm (Finland)
International Programme 5: Sundance 'Forgetfulness' - Julian Grey (Canada)
Digital Panorama: Drift - Max Hattler (UK)
Abstract Panorama: As They Pass/Mnemosyne 01 - B.Bodenauer (Austria)
Puppet Panorama: Pecatum Parvum - Asya Lukin (UK) AND Madame Tutli-Putli - C.Lavis,
M.Szczerbowski (Canada)
Long Shorts: Three Love Stories - Svetlana Filippova (Russia)
Best British film: Stand Up - Joseph Pierce (UK)
Best Overall film: The Life Size Zoetrope - Mark Simon Hewis (UK)
The audience votes were:
International Programme 1: I Met The Walrus - Josh Raskin (Canada)
International Programme 2: Skhizein - Jeremy Clapin (France)
International Programme 3: Oktapodi - J.Bocabelle, F.Chanioux, O.Delabarre, T.Marchand,
E.Mokheberi (France)
International Programme 4: Procrastination - Johnny Kelly AND The Irresistible Smile
- Ami Lindholm (Finland)
International Programme 5: A Mouse's Tale - Benjamin Renner (France)
Digital Panorama: Lifeline - Tomek Duckl (Hungary)
Abstract Panorama: Material - Boran Richard (Canada)
Puppet Panorama 1: Madame Tutli-Putli - C..Lavis, M.Szczerbowski (Canada)
Puppet Panorama 2: L'Animateur - Nick Hilligoss (Australia)
Long Shorts: Animal - Tatu Pohjavirta (Finland)
British Panorama: The Reason I Collect - Emma Curtis (UK)

Monday, September 15, 2008

UK Stop Motion Supplier

There are several suppliers of stop motion armatures in the USA but that requires any components to be shipped over here, savings made on the exchange rate could be lost on the P&P. However there is now Animation Supplies, a UK supplier of armatures and other stop motion bits. It's run by an animator called "Andrew Simmons" who studied at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design.

Animation supplies are biased towards the stop motion animator and can supply Armatures, Acrylic eyes, Magnets as well as kits with all of these. For those who want to make their own armatures the individual parts such as Ball Joints, Universal Joints, Feet, Threaded Rod and Stainless Steel Rod are available. Aluminium wire can also be purchased. Feedback and ideas shared at the Animation Supplies Forum and Guestbook.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Inspiration - Mat Irvine

Mat Irvine was one of my childhood heros and I'm sure is partially responsible for me getting into Television and animation. Matt appeared on many of the kids TV programmes when I was young from Blue Peter to Multicoloured Swap Shop and explained how to make spaceships and special effects. He was responsible for many of the effects shots in Scifi such as Blake Seven and Dr Who as well as factual programmes such as Think of a Number, Tomorrow's World, QED, Horizon and The Sky at Night.

More recently Matt has been involved in creation of Robot Wars, Techno Games and he's written a whole stack of books on making different kinds of models.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix

Thanks to a Norwegian friend visiting London, I got to see the remastered 2005 edition of the "Pinchcliffe Grand Prix" by Ivo Caprino. This film by Ivo Caprino was origionally going to be a series but was abandoned for a few years before they decided to remake it into a film. The film has been enhanced twice since it's 1970s release and the quality of the DVD version shows the models and sets in their origional glory.

The story involves bicycle mender Theodore Rimspoke and his pals Sonny Duckworth and Lambert the Hedgehog. They decide to enter a motor race against Theodore's rival and ex-apprentice and along with the help of an Arab Sheik they create and race the Il Tempo Gigante.

The film's style and characters remind me of Michael Bentine's Potty Time, particularly the Lambert character. The film is imaginatively animated and the characters, sets and inventions are full of wonderful details.

I've not seen the film available in the UK but you can purchases it from the World of Caprino website along with radio controlled models of the Il Tempo Gigante and talking toy Sonny and Lambert (in Norwegian).