It’s been much too long since the last update, but you all will be happy to know, it’s because I’ve been buried in work on the film. First, I finally finished a draft of the entire storyboard, 219 panels representing roughly 20 minutes, 7 scenes over 3 acts plus opening and closing credits. You can take a look at the PDF, here .
In October we started capturing raw stop action images for Act 1 Scene 1 using two cameras.
We won’t be shooting all the scenes in their narrative order, but decided to tackle Scene 1 first because it seems the simplest. Still there have been plenty of difficult problems to solve. We had to calculate the (unmarked) rectangle on the table that frames the scene, given the size of the eggs and camera distances. I had to “perform” the movements of the eggs between each shot. It’s been very helpful to have a storyboard. For some panels, I create a shot-by-shot map to follow.
We then import the raw images into video software. This is where we choose the frame rate and render the images to appear at a tempo that is hopefully neither too slow nor too quick for enjoying the patterns, movements, and narrative flow. And we’ll add in animation here, directly or imported from visual effects software.
As we plug away at this very time-intensive work, we’re learning what not to do. Don’t use modeling clay to stabilize the position of the egg on the table between sessions because it leaves greasy spots on the thick white paper background. Don’t work out z-axis trajectories for eggs by using the actual pysanky from the cast because if you accidentally drop one and break it, you’ve potentially derailed your storyboard. It’s bad to kill off your actors before you’re done shooting! Thankfully, I could stay up all night and make a copy so the show can go on.
We are also figuring out things that we should not be doing. For example, who will “play” the plain egg character. If we use a raw egg, it will be rotten, stinky, and probably leaky long before we’ve finished the many scenes it’s in. Since every egg is slightly different in hue and form, I can’t probably swap in replacements as we go. My solution? I blew out an egg, plugged one end with a mix of glue and ground-up eggshell, filled the hollow shell with fine sand using a jerry rigged funnel, and plugged the other end.
Now I have an egg for the duration that has mass similar to a raw egg and won’t rot.
We hope to take whatever footage we have edited by early December to Boston Open Screen to see how it looks projected on a large screen. That will help us determine what if any adjustments to make for the rest of the project.
We’re expecting December to be an intensive push through several more scenes. Setup and shooting images takes time. Animation and editing take even more time. For now, though, we’re still on schedule for finishing the film by the end of March 2015.