production blog of a stop-motion feature film 


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!



Comments Off.

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


Comments Off.

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.

Comments Off.

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


Comments Off.

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.

Comments Off.

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!

Comments Off.

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.




Tags: , ,

Marionette Theater round up

It’s about 1 am in Hamburg, Germany and I stand in the studio as I write this post. It’s been non-stop for our small but fine team for the last few weeks and there is no end in sight just yet…so I have to squeeze in a quick update between lighting and camera and s3d set ups, timing and animation briefings.

Currently we’re on our third – and most complicated – set up. We’ve built a part of the historical Yesilcam Street in Istanbul – complete with Emek Sinemasi (movie theater facing closure despite protests), done our first pre-lighting and camera set up, soon to start blocking. But more on that set later…For now, I’ll leave you with this time-lapse summary of the Marionette Theater set up / take down. My favorite part is seeing the animation…The video makes the humongous work we left behind look too easy – I wish real time was as fast and effortless as time-lapse makes it seem!


Timelapse summary of the Marionette Theater set-up

Comments Off.