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Accepting Age Tutorial

Sadly enough also me I’m getting older. Hitting 30 is quite special, so sitting there three days before my birthday, one quiet Friday afternoon, I figured it might be nice to prepare a little movie which I could attach to my birthday invitation. And also of course I could learn some new filming concepts. The outcome is this little movie and here’s how I made it:

  • biggest problem: I was alone that weekend, so there was nobody who could help me, which I can really not recommend
  • grabbed my great Canon 7D
  • bought a cable release, my wireless release was not delivered yet, which would have simplified things a lot
  • wrote a scene script
  • created the fake (22 files) website on my laptop and made screenshots of all pages using snag it auto capture with time delay while pretending I read it (117 pictures)
  • brought together all kinds of cuddly toys I could find, the dog could wiggle with its ears automatically, which was a big plus during the casting and promoted him to appear in nearly every scene
  • installed two 180° lights where needed
  • played through each individual scene
    • think of interesting camera angle, use ladders, books etc to provide a stand for the camera
    • decide which elements in the scene should be animated
    • set the focus: do not use autofocus, it adjusts too easily to the wrong spot and creates blurry pictures, so in order to set it I use the 10 second delay timer, have autofocus activated, stand at my final position and have it take a picture, then I deactivat the autofocus, leave it at the value it just determined and have a nice calibration
    • play through the scene by setting the cable release to auto slow capture five pictures per second
    • slightly move all elements one by one and pose for final shot each time until finished
  • this resulted in 9500+ images being taken
  • manually go through all images and delete the “intermediate” ones where I either move something or which are not fitting the stop-motion concept
  • this resulted in 3127 images for the final movie
  • import all of them into Adobe After Effects as a sequence
  • put some music and effects in the audio track
  • add text and some effects to the movie, the blood is a four-frame animation I got from a friend
  • hit render, export and upload the 3:52m movie

The timeframe was pretty tight, I finished in three nearly full-time days at 3 o’clock in the morning on my birthday. Here are some outtakes:

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