production blog of a stop-motion feature film 


Yesilcam – building Kara´s street

Now that everything is “done” (which of course still is not…), we finally get around to putting together more pictures from the set-building process.

Our most complex set – both in building and shooting – is the set of Yesilcam Street, Kara´s street. This street is based on a real location – except for the parts that are made up. Sinem, Kara´s alter ego, lived here in her youth and this is where Kara´s journey in Istanbul starts.

I will present the pictures in a loose chronological order – starting with one from one of our research trips to Istanbul, when I met Ayse Teyze, who was still alive and running her tiny kiosk on Yesilcam.

Sinem and her mother in Yesilcam

Sinem and her mother in Yesilcam


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It’s a wrap!

Ok, so this is a big moment for us…After presenting work-in-progress on the teaser at Cartoon Movie, which went really well and the emotional reaction we received was more than we could have hoped for, we jumped right back into the shoot. We still had two set ups to get through, one of them being the “background” (ahem!) plate of miniature Istanbul with all its various passes – fog, practicals, on green, on black etc… – and the other the deceptively simple truck out on the marionette theater for the closing. So after a few weeks of shoot with our now much smaller team, last week we popped the champagne and called it a wrap!!

Now all we have to do is remove some rigs, stabilize some layers, composite a few thousand frames, final grade the colors, compose the music, design the sound, and voila! We will have a 3-minute teaser on our hands. All the while going through many gigabytes of ‘making of’ footage to keep you guys updated. Piece of cake.

But let’s worry about the work ahead tomorrow and take a moment to celebrate the end of the shoot: here is a sneak peek into the (still work-in-progress) teaser. Editor Katrin Brinkmann and her team from NDR took the time to visit with us about a week ago and put together this report. (Sorry to the German speakers for slightly butchering what’s clearly not my mother-tongue, especially in front of the cameras (more comfortable behind them really), but the pictures should hopefully make up for it.)

Cheers everybody!



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Kara at Cartoon Movie

We’re happy to be among the selected projects at Cartoon Movie this year and we’re taking a little break from the shoot to present our film in Lyon in a few days. Having wrapped the longest (1700 frames!) and most complicated shot of the teaser just yesterday, I am looking forward to seeing the footage on the big screen in stereo at the Cartoon Movie.

We’ll post some new pictures and time lapse footage from the shoot as soon as we’re back. In the meantime, here is a little recap of the two previous sets.


Click on the image for video



Landscape style frames

I am always in awe of what Anne manages with a few brushstrokes (I’ll probably get a call from her about this little word “few” in here…) Anyway, here are some “rough” style frames she prepared as guidance for compositing and matte painting from the landscape set we recently shot.



Highway to Istanbul – II

“A lonely bus travels on an inter-city highway under a crescent moon.”

How much work can such an innocent sounding sentence from the script create, you might ask. Well, here is the answer: a round-up of the 2.5 weeks of shoot on the ‘landscape’ set. (And this is excluding the set and prop building…which we blogged about in detail some weeks ago.)



Click image for video


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And as for the light…

Published on February 7, 2013, by in Kara the film, Shoot.

… here is a test picture fresh from the set, which should be added close to the animation tests below, as green isn´t Kara´s favourite background colour. Warmer tones suit her complexion better.

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Moving onto something moving.

The road from the inspirational drawings to designs to armatures and puppet making on Kara and Mr. Fleas have been long and winding but here are two pieces of test animation that makes it all worth while. It is very rewarding to see how beautifully the puppets move in the hands of our great animators. Watch the Kara test again and see if you can catch the subtle breath she takes! And Mr. Fleas, the cat with the longest tail in the world, knows how to show it off…

Click the images below to watch the test animation videos.


Kara test animation



Mr. Fleas test animation


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Sorry Berlin!

We’re afraid Berlin just lost its status as the biggest Turkish community outside of Turkey: Istanbul arrived in Hamburg today! Straight from the workshop. Paint having just dried.

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Mini-Istanbul – a metropolis in one room

The set building process:

First, there was an inspirational. Then (and those photos I spare you) I started to do a small plastillin blocking and drew rough groundplans of the buildings visible in the inspirational.

Then Eugen Kelle started blocking in 3-D until we had a set big enough for the camera move and sent out floor plans – basically the measurements of the set itself and the different heights of ground.

Pablo in Ruit built a wooden construction which was covered in styrofoam by Jörg. While Pablo started working on construction of the houses which include the practicals, Jörg started to saw back, middle – and later foreground houses from styrofoam – and would continue to do so for  several days, as there were many!

In the meantime the detailed “light-street-foreground” houses got into shape mainly on Nina´s and Susanna´s desks. More streets, groundplans, foreground houses, facade smoothing and filling, adjustment of all houses, fixing them to the set and finally the paint work – everybody working hard.

You guys in Ruit did an amazing job!

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In the meantime

Published on February 4, 2013, by in Kara the film, Puppets.

A lot of work has been done so far – and in between Sinem´s updates from the shoot I will try to squeeze in more documentation on puppets and sets – even though they are done and infront of the camera already. Here´s Kara´s neutral facial and some pictures of how she got her long plait – all done by Olaf. A streak of Sinem´s hair was used as a colour reference for her alter ego´s hair.




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