Saturday, February 11, 2006

23: Long Take

The next take was 335 frames!

Normally, each take is half a second or a second, sometimes it can go to 3 seconds. The take pictured to the left is roughly 14 seconds!

I did it over a period of four days. Well, the filming was done in four days, but not four consecutive days. I did a cut and paste from the SMP project timeline:

Start Time | End Time | Duration
2/3/2006 9:46:09 PM | 2/4/2006 1:22:34 AM | 3:36
2/4/2006 1:22:55 AM | 2/4/2006 2:57:14 AM | 1:34
2/4/2006 2:57:26 AM | 2/4/2006 3:04:08 AM | 0:06
2/4/2006 3:38:55 PM | 2/4/2006 5:33:00 PM | 1:54
2/4/2006 7:19:46 PM | 2/4/2006 7:41:49 PM | 0:22
2/4/2006 8:25:59 PM | 2/4/2006 8:35:10 PM | 0:09
2/5/2006 2:34:56 PM | 2/5/2006 5:36:47 PM | 3:01
2/5/2006 9:41:13 PM | 2/5/2006 10:24:45 PM | 0:43
2/5/2006 10:57:54 PM | 2/6/2006 12:12:10 AM | 1:14
2/7/2006 10:19:41 PM | 2/7/2006 11:58:07 PM | 1:38
2/11/2006 9:05:11 PM | 2/11/2006 11:17:07 PM | 2:11
Total duration: 16:32

To do this shot, I set the camera up similar to that done in 13: Kids and Animation don't mix.

The plan was to have the camera swivel back and forth as Maggie is being attacked from both sides. As I've said before, I wanted to do long takes for this one, and I knew it would span a few days of filming time. Unfortunately, everytime I come back to filming the next day, not everything is exactly the way I left it. I don't blame the kids, but sometimes it seems that the camera is a millimetre further away or something. It's like heat or cold causes the camera to expand or contract, or something so it's not the same when I come back the next day. It probably isn't that noticeable, but I wasn't going to take chances.

With a camera that swivels left and right, the camera is always moving. A small desk bump won't make any difference, I can move the camera to the appropriate position. Even better is the fact that the background is black and there is no ground. There really is no point of reference so you can't even tell if there is a camera bump. All goodness for me.

Part A

February 3rd was a wack of filming, but also a wack of just setting up. I started at 9:15 and had an idea how I was going to film, but it didn't work out. I finally got the stage set up at about 10:45pm. Good grief. Anyways, I was on a roll when I got started and didn't finish until 3am in the morning.

I like the punches in this take, but the knee shots don't have Red recoiling enough.

Part B

I don't know what it is about my roundhouse kicks, I don't seem to get them correctly. They lose the "weight" behind them everytime I do them. I probably have to do them more.

The second kick is inspired again from Tom Yum Goong. I like the kick, and probably will have it again because it goes too fast and you don't really see what's happening. I have a lot of shots that are going too fast, don't I. That probably means I should sharpen up my timing.

Anyways, I had the stikfas at odd angles when filming these shots. They were all leaning a bit forward the whole time, so even though the camera looks like it's at waist level, it really isn't. That made it difficult to get high kicks, for some reason, I must have been doing something screwy because I had a hard time getting the kicks high enough without moving the stikfas so off center that fluidity would be sacrificed.

Part C

Of course, I have to do the perfunctory dodge where the main character leans backwards. I just add a quick front kick to Red, and then another dodge as Maggie leans forward. I started to lose track of the camera though. I wanted to capture Red getting kicked and falling backwards, and then I noticed that I have to get back to Green throwing in another punch, so although at first not noticeable, it looks like the untrained camera man has no idea what to focus on, because it's pretty much true.

The first part, where Maggie does a back kick to Green, I had to make it look like Maggie is grabbing and holding Green's wrist while she shoots a kick back. Of course, Maggie isn't touch Green's arm at all, so all the while I'm hoping that it looks like Green's arm is being pulled and controlled by Maggie. I do like the shot, because it worked out as planned! Well, almost as planned. I wanted green to shoot up and have his back bend and snap as it did, and then, just for fun, I threw in an elbow as he was going down. It may have looked better without it, but meh.

Part D

Mediocre spin. That's about all I can say for this part of the shot. I should have kept Maggie's legs closed this whole time, but I had it open up thinking that would give more momentum to the spin. Now it looks like...I don't even know. It looks ok though, so I wasn't going to cut it or anything, but I think it's somewhat weak.

She ends in a weak position too. I was thinking what I was going to do next, and how I was going to do it. I went through a number of shots in my head trying to figure out what attack to put in next, and which way the camera was going to go.

Part E

I finally settled on doing a flying front kick, but because the camera rotates a lot, it looks kinda funny, and a bit too choppy even. Every time I see it, it almost seems the wrong kick is going out.

I knew I wanted to do the throat grab and flip and I didn't even test it out on two stikfas to see if I could actually get them into that position. Not a good thing to do. Whenever I have the fine delicate movements (for an impact, a snap, or a recoil) then the body cannot be removed. Well, it can be removed, but it takes me a dickens of a time trying to get it back in the right position, and sometimes I can't.

Anyways, I was surprised how easy she fit into the hold. In fact, when she flips Red over her back, all I had Red do was balance on her back while her arms locked Red in place. So no blue-tac or extra lego was required. Mind you, it's not the greatest flip I've done, but it was passable.

I am finally glad to get this shot done though. 16 hours is a long time, but spacing it over a few days is making it easier. I'm also trying to animate when no one can bother me. I find that if I animate and try to do anything else at the same time (like answer questions from my daughter about lego and blue-tac) I develop a wicked headache. I just cannot multi-task very well. Intense concentration constantly being interrupted makes me all stressed and irritable.

It's the same at work, if I have a deadline and I need to get some programming done, I cannot be constantly interrupted. If I do, my productivity is cut in half and my head feels like oatmeal. I've also got my butt back in gear and I am going to Kung Fu again. I haven't exercised in over 3 months and it really effects my energy and stress levels.

Ok, that's enough complaining from me! I know what the next move is going to be, I'm just figuring out how to set it up.