production blog of a stop-motion feature film 

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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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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

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Quick update from the studio – we’re shooting!!

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks, but finally the Milo is standing in the studio – big thank you to Knut Lange -, our first set Marionette Theater has been set up and our wonderful animator Juan Soto is creating some magic. The first shot of the teaser is nearly done and it feels good to finally see things come to life after months and months of hard work. And the result is so astoundingly similar to the beautiful inspirational designs of Anne (Hofmann that is…) It is all thanks to an amazingly talented and dedicated team, who keep adding a little bit of themselves to Kara along the way. Seeing her move with a life of her own on that stage brought tears to my eyes.

But enough sobbing…We have some real nice making of videos coming soon, so keep an eye out for that. And the updates might be a bit more seldom and short these days, though we have more than ever to share with you, but first things first…we have a teaser to finish and a very tight deadline. So I’ll get back to work and leave you guys with these two pictures from our Waterloo Studios in Hamburg.

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Kara’s “marionette” doubles

Our main character Kara lives with a marionette double, who appears on stage in the teaser. Through a recommendation we discovered the marionette workshop Prague where we got in contact with Mirek Trejtnar. We asked him to carve a tiny!! wooden marionette from our drawings and build a stop motion replica with ball-and-socket armature for that marionette, too. Both wooden. Both hand carved. And they came out as real twins! And they are beautiful.

 

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Highway to Istanbul

This is our largest set – as it tends to become large when you have a bus traveling on a highway in a continuous camera move. Even though our bus is quite tiny, we ended up with a 6.50 m. x 4.50 m. set (basically as much as we could fit into our Waterloo Studio in Hamburg).

Jörg Steegmüller worked on the main construction, sculpting hills and the highway while Nina and Susanna worked on the details like the trees and telegraph poles. (Yes, those in the picture below are tiny, pin-sized isolators molded and cast from 4 different hand-made models.)

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Little things that matter

The few props we have in the teaser were crafted by Nina Milarch at Steegmüller Skulpturen. The bus, which is work-in-progress in this picture, is built by Pablo Pinkus.

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The silk curtain

After several tests searching for the best-suited material, Agata Rojek made our Marionette Theater curtain from thin and tricky-to-sew silk. Hers was not an easy task: the curtain had to be animatable, thick enough to not see through to the back but thin enough to allow a shadow play with back-lit characters. The result turned out better than we could have hoped for, with every fold lovingly hand-crafted and painstakingly measured.

Jörg Steegmüller and Pablo Pinkus built the rigging frame for the animation.

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More set building

Here are some more set elements from the marionette stage, which was built in Ruit. The stage is finished and waiting for set-up for the shoot by now. The beautiful paint work was done by Susanna Jerger.

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Things to come

Here comes a little overview on things to expect here in the next months. As you probably noticed from the other posts, artwork is created and sets and puppets are being built, we are just getting ready for a shoot. As part of project development we are producing a 2.5 minutes teaser, to give an impression of how the feature film will look and feel like.

The film is ambitious and also technically very demanding. All this we also wanted to have in our teaser, just a bit shorter (not smaller).

We have a crew of 25+ people from 9 countries, 4 sets built in 4 different scales (shot in 5 different scales) as part of one continuous camera move shot in s3D and 3 main puppets. We will start shooting on 2nd January 2013 until end of February 2013, doing the post production parallel.

Soon there will be coverage of the shoot here, too. Until then, here is a timelapse clip of one of our blocking sessions.

blocking timelapse

 

 

 

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The curtain rises for the set builders

Published on December 20, 2012, by in Kara the film.

It´s about time we introduced our set building team and their work. At Steegmüller-Skulpturen in Ruit, close to Stuttgart, the fabulous four Susanna Jerger (Head of Set Building), Jörg Steegmüller, Pablo Pinkus and Nina Milarch work hard to give our puppets a stage. And with a stage they started.

We know, of course, about the existence and possibilities of a digital layout – and a DLO sometimes indeed does come in handy to plan a set. Still we deliberately decided against it and went for an analogue approach. From other productions we remembered how the rendered plans from the DLO sometimes also posed a limitation towards the artistic approach. You are tempted to rely more on the numbers from the rendered files than on the artist´s eye.

Sorry, long story to explain the first pics: From the inspirational drawing via a little cardboard set we blocked a 1:1 cardboard set – in which we manually blocked our camera move, too. From this blocking we took final measurements and handed them to the Team in Ruit.

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