Sunday, December 27, 2015

Orson Finished -- "F For Formula"

After three months of puppet and prop making, 43 hours of animation, and about three weeks of post work (all working around the ol' day job) -- it's finally finished!

"F For Formula" a tribute/spoof of the classic "Yes, Always" tape:

You can also watch it on Vimeo:

Behind the scenes soon to come.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Orson Now In Post

 Yes, that's right folks, animation is finished and I'm about half done with post.
As with most of my work, I tend to make a heck of a lot of work for myself later, by not doing much actual 'on set' work at the time of shooting (like how I opted to shoot entirely on green screen instead of building a set, as a result, I've ended up with a tangle of garbage masks that squirm like a bucket of maggots with restless leg syndrome).
Sure maggots don't have legs, but you get the idea.
Anyway, this method of madness may seem counter productive to some, but I can say with absolute confidence that it does have many benefits.
One that sticks out above all others -- flicker removal.
I've never really had much trouble with flicker. At least not crazy, flashing flicker. I always had the subtle stuff, the stuff you really only see in the shadows. And the big advantage to shooting green screen, is that once the background is keyed out and replaced, the puppet is the only thing in the shot that has it, so it's easy to fix.

Now, as I said, I never used to have that much trouble with it before, but since my upgrade to a DSLR, flicker has presented itself kinda like this:


So, what was I to do? Well, since flicker was contained to Orson only, I was able to isolate his layer and manually adjust the exposure to to compensate.
This worked fairly well for the big flashes, but the pulsing flicker was still present and quite undesirable.
After checking around the Stop-Mo forum, I found this thread on the subject. They all referenced  several different products, some cheap, some horribly expensive -- and everyone had a personal favorite.
So I wrote down the top three and started downloading all the free trials I could find.
None of them worked.
So, I searched some more and finally found this product from Digital Anarchy.

And may I just say what a lovely product FlickerFree is. It's good... It's really really good.
In combination with exposure adjustment to help the big lightning bolts, FlickerFree basically saved Orson's little life.
Now, the price is $149, and I'm cheap, so I still think it's a bit pricey. But for what you're getting, it is definitely worth it.
By the way, I would've posted a comparison video, to show shots before and after flicker reduction, but I'll be covering that as well as compositing, and other things in a short BTS video that I'm planning on releasing after the finished short.

Just a random pic of my workspace. As you can see, it's organized in a way that only appears to be messy. I used to keep all my production notes on hundreds of little pieces of paper that would inevitably get lost. Now I just write on every flat surface like a crazy person (or a mean-spirited toddler). And just so you know what a professional I am, that is NOT a chalkboard table, it's just a regular black table -- but that is a bistro marker, so it all kind of balances out.
Orson just looks on disapprovingly.