Yuji interview

Here is my next interview. It is with Yuji. He is an animator from California now, and we watched as he created a massive and impressive camera dolly rig.

1 What hand tools and power tools do you have access to?

My favorite tool at the moment is my DeWalt dry cut saw for soft
metals. This is not an abrasive saw, this chop saw has a carbide-tipped blade with teeth! Saves me a ton of time cutting aluminum stock. I also have a tabletop mill and lathe from Micro Mark. I got these originally to learn how to make ball and socket armatures but when I decided to build a moco rig, I got side tracked. Waiting for me to get back into learning armature making is an oxyacetylene torch kit.

2 Where do you buy your supplies locally?
3 Have you ever bought any supplies online and what?

I buy a lot of tools, hardware and some stock online at McMaster-Carr
and since they are located in Los Angeles, this qualifies for questions #2 and #3. I also get other metal stock from Industrial Metal Supply Co. here in LA. They have bins of scrap metal that I can usually turn into something useful. They have almost any width, thickness and length of aluminum I need. If I need something common like nuts and bolts, then OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) is just minutes away.

4 What is your favorite/standard puppet construction?

This is general question so I will break it down to armature and body. I have only used wire armatures for Robot Chicken and Moral Orel but hopefully will get into ball and socket stuff. We used both polyurethane foam and build up techniques for Robot Chicken. It seems like the link at Cartoon Network is not working but they had a little behind the scenes of the puppet making process for Robot Chicken. My original thread can be found here:


5 What camera and software setup do you use?

At the moment, a Bolex SBM 16mm camera with a spy camera feeding a
LunchBox Sync. Haven’t really done any projects with it yet. My intention was to do a series of fairy tales. Here’s a thread explaining why I went with film and another thread of my tests. Only the Quicktime files exist for the tests. I may get a digital camera later.



6 What are you planning to do with your incredible moving camera rig?

Here’s an update on the rig. I got a Kuper System rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with my limited skills at programming. It is a very robust system. A bit of a learning curve though. The first thing I want to do is to help out fellow animators here in LA with their personal projects. This way, I will have nice shots to put on my reel. Then hopefully I can rent it out.

7 What is one of your biggest strengths or assets, and how do you
utilize this?

Problem solving. As an animation assistant on RC3, I would come across rigging problems everyday whether it be for puppets, props or camera. I can usually come up with something to solve the problem quickly. In fact, I came up with a rigging solution for puppets which is part Climpex and part Berkey System which works extremely well. I also came up with the idea of using extruded aluminum for a camera dolly which they use a lot for RC3 and Moral Orel. Simple, elegant and accurate!

8 What about this process do you enjoy the most?

Stop motion requires a lot of disciplines and I like them all. From
making puppets and sets to lighting and camera and of course, animating. It’s all fascinating to me. I feel like I have only scratched the surface.

9 Name some goals you have in this field.

I need to concentrate on animating. I really want to be an animator.

10. What did you do before working at Shadow and how did you get into

I originally did audio for a living. First at music studios then a post house. Did that for about 18 years. I quit that job just over a year ago so that I could work at Shadow full time. I tried putting together a Flash based web site with fairy tales but got a luke warm response so I decided I might try it with stop motion.

One response to “Yuji interview

  1. Thanks for this post, I’ll have to keep it bookmarked so I can link it when some loony throws up on my blog.


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