September 21, 2003

Making Movies II

Ian Hamet added some interesting comments on my movie-making post; I started to respond in another comment, and then realized I had another post.

Ian says (among other things--go read his comments in their entirety):

30 seconds' footage for an hour and a half's work is actually pretty good for stop motion (although getting a full fifth of a second for each setup is cheating it ought to be no more than a tenth of a second to look really good).

He's definitely correct about the frame rate--a fifth of a second is too long. In fact, it's rather shocking how long a fifth of a second really is. When watching the playback I can clearly see each individual setup.

I remember my brother and his friend doing stop-motion animation with a Super-8 camera when I was a kid. As I recall, they usually took two frames of each shot, which would be 1/12th of a second. In "Frame Rec" mode, the Sony TRV-22 always takes six frames, 1/5th of a second, so I'm stuck there...but I can fix that in "post-production" by speeding the footage up two or three times. (iMovie is still too cool for words.)

I did a short animation last week as well, and noticed the problem then, and I seriously thought about trying to do it that way for this movie. The trouble there is, it means I need to make even smaller changes between each setup than I have been, and each scene will take considerably longer to shoot. And as this is a cooperative venture with my six-year-old, boredom is a real danger.

As is back pain. I knew I wasn't in shape, but after an hour and a half of bending over and adjusting a snake every ten seconds, my back muscles are so stiff I can hardly move this morning.

But that's by the way. I'm still figuring out how much movement I can get away with between shots, and how that will correlate with apparent speed of movement in playback. On top of that, I'm still making horrible mistakes. Had I tried to go for real smooth motion, the footage would have taken twice as long to shoot--and after that first horrible scene I probably would have lost heart. That's a lot of work to do for nothing.

Also, I'd be completely unable to move this morning.

So, I'll try doing really smooth motion next time. Probably with something I animate on my desk, instead of out in the yard.

Ian also says,

It's rather fun to vicariously (re)learn filmmaking through these posts. Sounds like you're having a blast. :)

I'm definitely watching TV with new eyes, I can tell you that. I'm paying a lot more attention to the camera work, I can tell you that.

Posted by Will Duquette at September 21, 2003 07:49 AM