Animation Project E – Post Production Update

Well… it is DONE. After nearly six months of post-production Project E is finally complete pending permission from the copyright holder of the music to use his song. By all accounts he’s a very affable chap so I’m optimistic that he’ll be behind the project. It was a long, hard slog at the computer and I would have completed much sooner if my commercial work hadn’t taken precedence over the summer and autumn (as it must!). Since June/July I’ve been busy at Redwood working on the Barclays and Boots Health & Beauty Magazine accounts, I’ve also been editing a Spanish version of the Skatefresh Inline App, which is due for imminent release. In September I zipped over to Germany and back in one day to film at a clinic in Bad Dürkheim for the CBRE and also filmed some amazing young people at Preston’s College for City & Guilds/August Media. In October I was part of a camera crew filming the Constella Ballet and Orchestra under the direction of Heathcliff Blair and did a couple of jobs for Shortlist Media, editing some footage of Lena Dunham for her guest editorship of Stylist Magazine and filming the awesome James Ellroy for the Shortlist Magazine Book Club. And as if that wasn’t enough, I also started filming a documentary project about my grandfather, Morgan Jones – but more on that in another post.

So in the small spaces between jobs I was painstakingly retouching and balancing Jpeg after Jpeg for Project E in a post production session so gargantuan it put me in mind of hauling that steamer over the hill in Fitzcarraldo. I was to learn that my approach to animation was a tad overcomplicated after I went on a week-long stop motion course at Central Saint Martins in December 2013, under the tutorship of Kevin ‘The Puppetician’ Griffiths. The course was intense and really rewarding: I learned how to make an armature puppet and a jointed 2-D cutout puppet, and the basics of how to animate both using iStopMotion software. I also learned that the approach I was taking with Project E was creating more work than necessary. For example my main character was a doll not built specifically for animation and needed a support most of the time to stay upright, which was visible on camera that I retouched out later. As I was still shooting at the time it was a bit late to change, but later during the retouching phase, having applied a mask to what seemed like the zillionth Jpeg, I made a note to self to act on what I’d learned and use the right tools next time, make a proper puppet that I can pin to a bit of board and maybe employ a bit of chroma keying for special effects. And yes, there is going to be a ‘next time’. I’ve got an animated Christmas card in the works and a spool of aluminium wire on my desk ready for a spot of puppet production. But back to Project E, here are a couple of before and after shots from the post production marathon so you can see what I was up against.

0323-before

A flying shot with rig wires visible top and bottom.

0323-afterHey presto! Wires have gone.

4710-before

The epic, 5-hour plane fly-past shot. Wires and shadows visible.

4710-after

Look ma, no wires! No shadows!

On the upside, I learned a shed load about Photoshop.

So, as soon as the use of the music is sanctioned I’ll be doing the Big Premiere.

Watch. This. Space.

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