The Trouble with Trinity


Filming was serious business, so there are our serious business faces.

Planned solutions that succeeded: Making sure the set had removable walls so that we could vary the types of shots we could do in the animation. A nice example of pre-planning having a good payoff.

Planned solutions that failed: Dealing with sand; I thought some super strong rare-earth neodymium magnets would be enough to hold the characters up through the thin layer of sand on set. I was wrong, all the magnets did was stick both of the feet together, making them unable to be animated properly. Sand turned out to hold a lot of problems for animating, as is it not a stable base, for anything at all, and the constant re-smoothing of fingermarks and lines added a lot of time onto filming.

Other issues were numerous, some with simple solutions, some not. Here is a brief collection of some of the problems we ran into, which I made notes of:

  • Loose clothing - we should of found a way to stick hats down to stop them jumping all over the shop.
  • Auto White Balance - needed its eye keeping on while shooting.
  • Character build - longer legs next time, little ones are the devil to animate, also top-heavy characters are not the easiest things to work with either.
  • Pan shots etc are hard to do well on a cheap tripod, but we had to make do as MILO training never happened.
  • Stills can make effective shots with a bit of simple Ken-Burns effect.
  • Greaseproof baking paper makes a nice safe light diffuser for soft lighting (picture above)
  • Balsa wood looks like (surprise!) balsa wood unless you give it a wash/paint it/distress it a bit.
  • In fact - distress everything, it all seems to add character and make the set less bland.
  • Everything should be glued down unless it needs to move at some point.
  • Blu-tac is an essential item - I've never used it so much for anything in my life.
One of many, many, many light test photos
  • Light testing was essential to get a feel for the mood and atmosphere of a shot.
  • Shot testing, getting a good shot composition to make it clear what was going on in the shot, ie strong silhouettes. Some shots were better than others in the end.
  • If in doubt - do it again.

The original credits scene was going to be a pan across the wall of "Wanted" posters, which would have worked nicely, but turned out to be too impractical to do well enough. It did make it into the background of the DVD menu screen though.

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