Tag Archives: behind the scenes

behind the scenes stuff

here are some more photos from the behind the scenes of my latest film. The film is completed and is currently with the music guy getting a musical score composed for it. Soon very soon it will be ready for release. Hang in there a little bit longer. Thanks for following along this past year as we put this film together. It means a lot to us and you adoring fans are the reason we make these films.

go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Making a fish puppet

This is what I did to form a fish puppet for my new film.

I took a square piece of K/S brass and soldered to rod with a ball end. I put this in a ball and socket joint. I glued the square brass in a piece of mdf that was shaped like a fish head.

I made a wire armature for the shrimp.

Wrap the ball and socket joint with bandage foam.

This shows the rig that fits in the square brass tube to hold the fish up.

The brass tube will sit in the fish and hold it up. I will put the threaded rod in hole in the overhead with a nut holding it up. I can turn the rod to move the fish up or down. Every turn of the rod will move the entire rig up or down in height.

The nut and washer will hold the rod from slipping through the hole above the set. Turn the rod and the rig rises or lowers.

All of the larger fish or creatures in the film will use this same square tubing set up so I can swap the puppets in and out and use the same rig. I will attach the threaded rod overhead the set in a rig that slides back and forth across  the set. It will probably just move by eye without a geared or threaded pull system. I will rely on the video assist to determine how far to move the rig.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Beginning of the underwater film

So, the throne room film is complete and is now on my youtube channel. It is called “Shear Fear”.

So, now it is time to begin a new film. This one takes place underwater on a tiny little reef. The main characters will be seahorses, hermit crabs, fish and shrimp.

This is how I began to form the reef set. I took some styrofoam and began to add some shape to the set. I cut some small pieces of foam on the bandsaw and glued together around a semi-circle to form this red coral.

I brushed several layers of paint on until I was happy with the color.

Add some more foam for the reef walls.

Fill the gaps in with some foam insulation.

Wrap some wires together and make some branches.

Wrap the branches with some thin foam.

Keep wrapping to form the coral branches.

I used thread to hold the foam in place until it could be covered later. I also hot melt glued some edges down.

This is bandage wrap. Athletes use it under their boxing gloves.

Almost finished wrapped.

Dap liquid latex (Mold Builder Latex) that has been tinted green on to the foam wrap.

Apply many coats until you reach the desired finish. Two corals done, maybe 15 more to do.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Exterior set for throne room film

I have begun building the exterior set for the throne room film. Creatures have to fly in and attack a castle. The set will be about 5 feet square and will be too big to bring inside. I will place the set on the ground when ready to film and film it at night to reduce the flicker.

I took an old door and placed styrofoam pieces to form the basis of the mountain. Paper mache was placed over the styrofoam and then painted.

The bridge and a tower.

Instead of plaster of paris I used tile mortar, it is super strong and cheap, you just need to wear gloves since the mortar can burn your skin. Just mix it up kinda runny, and dip your newspaper in it just like regular paper mache.

The castle is mostly foam with paper cutouts for windows and a plastic screen cut for the top railing.

I have added another section on this side of the existing foam to extend the landscape more on this side. Photos of that later.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

Some set building

I have just begun the basic set building for the flying ship film. I bought 4×8′ sheet of 1″ thick styrofoam insulation from the home store for about $20 US. I cut it with a razor knife, bandsaw, handsaw, and a file. I cut the basic hills and rocks and landscape items, glued them on with liquid nails in a caulking gun, and then paper mached over them. The next step is to apply a layer of flat black paint with a brush since spray paint will melt the foam.

The pepsi can is there for scale.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

a new flying rig

Well for the stopmotionmagic.com october challenge I needed to turn my puppet 180 degrees, and for that I needed a super great wonderfully terrific flying rig, so I built one. (Note: in the photos you will see a black track, ignore this because that is my track lighting, has nothing to do with this rig)

Here is how:

Start with a long piece of wood, cut a dovetail slot in it with a router bit or table saw, cut a small scrap with a dovetail to slide in the slot. So now you have a 4 foot long piece of wood with a scrap that slides in a dovetail joint along the length. This will allow your flying rig to slide across the set left and right.

Now for the main piece. I wanted three connection points to keep the puppet better balanced. Take two pieces of scrap and make a Tee.  Glue these together. Drill holes in the ends for round dowels (pencils work great). Attach string to the dowels, and attach tiny wire hooks to the ends of the string. To raise or lower the hook heights just turn the dowels. If your holes in the wood scrap tee is not exact fit for the dowels you can cut a slot, and then put a nut and bolt on it to make it a tighter fit.  I drilled holes in the pencils and put a thin diameter dowel to make turning the pencils a little easier.  The whole tee assembly gets a bolt drilled through the center and is bolted to the scrap that has the sliding dovetail cut on it. Using this system allows the tee to swivel around. A wing nut on the bottom loosens or tightens the tee against the dovetail block and makes it easier or hard to twist around.


My latest animation exercise “turn your puppet 180” uses this flying rig and no tiedowns at all.

here is the link to video.

you can see the strings in the video.  I will remove them later.  The rig works great. Hope you enjoy. Let me know if you have any questions about how to build this.

Go ahead, make a mess, have some fun.

installing the next set

If you have been following along you know the set is almost all built. The next set is the garden scene with the rocky cliff faces. I don’t even have a story yet, but I have the first set built and ready to be brought in. I brought the entire set in, and put it on my table. Here are some shots of it. I spent several hours tonight working on a storyline. I know its a little backwards but what can you do.