The Deadly Deaths

Nick's blog

This is my blog that follows the making of our of music videos. The blog posts related to my first stop-motion animated music video for the song "See The World" start from this post.

5th Jan 2007

Video available for download....

The video is now available for download from the video page. This copy is of higher quality than the version shown below (720x404 at 24 frames per second).

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7th Nov 2006

The final video....

Well here it is. After 4 months of planning, building, shooting, re-shooting, masking and rendering the video is finally finished. We hope you like it.

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29th Oct 2006

Almost finished....

The video is almost finished now. Just a few more shots need their timing changed, and some colour correction needs to be done and then it's finished.

Anyway, I'd just like to thank some of the people who have helped me out while making this video (in order of appearance):

Kate Feisst - Helped me with the initial puppet prototype.
My Parents (and Nan) - Lent me tools and wood/board to make the sets with.
Dawn Tuffery - Advice on stop-motion animation.
Steve West - Lent me a web camera (for monitoring the movement in my shots).
Heath Lewis - Lent me his digital camera to shoot the video on, and created the star backgrounds for the planet shots.
Cherie Sturkenboom - Lent me a tripod, some tools, and built the table prop for the male character's set.
Adam Fulton - Joined me for a day of shooting.
Tuhua Mutu - Helped build the planet set.
Greg Pearson - Helped build the planet set, and edit the video.

I think that is everyone.

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19th Oct 2006

Planet compositing....

I'm still working on all the planet shots. The masking has been time consuming because of the number of trees in the shot, and the wire television tower.

Anyway, I thought that I'd post some pictures of the compositing that I have been slowly working my way through.

Here is a one of the shots that I've been working on. This is the shot before any processing has been applied. The black background areas of this shot are then masked out.

And this is the background image that will be inserted behind the original (once the black areas of the picture have been masked out).

And this is the final image.

The planet shot above was quite easy to work with as the background of the original image was quite dark already and there weren't so many trees in the shot.

Shots such as this one have been slightly more time consuming however. The files are huge (3456 x 2304 pixels), and the background file is even bigger (it has 6 or 7 layers and the star layer is 6000 x 6000 pixels), so my laptop has been quite hot. Luckily the RAM was upgraded when I got it (thanks Serato) otherwise I'd say this process would have taken even longer.

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18th Oct 2006

Planet shot....

I tried a few different methods of shooting and creating backgrounds for my planet shots, but I wasn't happy with the look of any of them. So I sent the files off to my friend (and graphic designer) Heath to see if he had any ideas.

And this is the result. He managed to create the backgrounds for all 14 shots today. The stars are on a separate layer to the planet and the haze/gradient around the planet, and they will rotate slightly during the shot to give some subtle movement.

I've finally finished all my shooting now, so its onto masking the remaining planet shots, and then rendering them. The masking is taking me a lot longer then I thought it would.

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16th Oct 2006

A better pan shot....

Today I reshot one of the first shots I posted in my blog from the first day of shooting. I was happy with this shot at the time, but after shooting a similar shot in the female characters house at 24 frames per second I decided that this shot needed to be redone.

As you can see, it looks so much better than the original 12 frame per second shot. I think this shot took about 160 pictures to shoot.

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10th Oct 2006

Reshooting....

I spent most of today reshooting a few scenes from the male characters house. I originally shot a few of the earlier scenes out of sequence. Looking back on them afterwards I noticed that the small clock in the background of the set changed time on a few of the shots, so they needed to be reshot.

I also shot a new scene on the clearing set. I'm not too sure if it will be used, but it is just a short shot, so it didn't take too long to shoot.

I don't have too many shots left to redo now. I'm still working on the planet shots too. Just need to shoot some background footage to composite into the shots.

The latest neck fix seems to be holding up well too. It hasn't given me any problems today and I think I only need the male puppet for one more shot.

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6th Oct 2006

A pain in the neck....

I've been having a lot of problems with the neck of the male character lately. It came loose during one of my last shots and I ended up removing it and attempted to fix it.

Shortly after I'd "fixed" the neck, it broke again. So I attempted to fix it once more. Then today as I was seven seconds (about 80 photos) in to a 20 second shot it completely broke off again! I guess I'm just going to have to try to fix it again. I have one more shot to finish and then I'll need this puppet to redo a few shots from earlier that I'm not happy with.

I also shot some long exposures of the night sky tonight. Using 60 second exposures I created a short animation of the stars moving. I was planning to use this as a background to some shots of the planet that the music video takes place on. I'm still not convinced that this is the best plan though. I may have to look for some less time consuming ways of achieving the same look. I should probably try shooting out of the city too to get some clearer night sky images.

And in related news, this blog has been featured on the iStopMotion/Boinx website. I currently use their software to monitor the movement of my puppets before shooting high resolution images with the digital SLR.

Anyway, I'm in a bit of a rush now to get everything finished soon. Unfortunately I managed to create quite a bit of extra work when shooting the planet shots. There were 14 shots, and each one is going to require special effects work on them. I will post some pictures when I have some more time and I'm happy with the way they are looking.

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21st Sep 2006

More television shots....

I spent a lot of today processing the composited image sequences from the television shots. The processing took most of the day, averaging around a minute for each frame (which allowed me to spend some time on the website - I added an image gallery).

Here is one of the shots that was composited onto the television from the female characters set. The shot is a stop-motion animation of the bass synthesizer used to record the song (a Korg MS 20).

Unfortunately I won't be animating for the next week as the camera I've been borrowing isn't available. So the last shots of the video are going to have to wait another week.

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18th Sep 2006

Television shots....

I spent this afternoon shooting a few of the television shots. These are fairly close shots of the band members performing on a white background. The shots are stop-motion animated so that they fit with the style of the video. In the image above I have composited the one of the images taken today onto an earlier shot of the television set that I took while filming on the male characters set. I found that it was a lot easier animating people than it has been animating puppets.

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