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STOP-MOTION SETS

Posted by Brianruns10, on 2011-01-22 12:16:30

Finding a space to erect a set

I've been doing stop motion for a number of years now, and up to this point, the scope of my projects enabled me to erect a set in an unused space in wherever I lived, be it a basement when I was at home, or a corner of my apartment or dorm room when I was at school. However, I'm preparing to embark upon a project of larger scale, both in the sets I plan to build, as well as the length of the film itself. I need to find a space both with room to build the sets, and which I can occupy for quite some time, at least a year or more, to produce the film. Of course, I've not a huge budget, so I'm not in a position to rent anything approaching a film studio. So I wanted to ask what you all have come up with when you needed a dedicated space to film in? One idea I had was to rent a space in an artist's loft, like a co-op where there are a number of individual spaces, and with each person renting, it defrays the cost somewhat as opposed to if one person was renting the whole space. So any advice you all have would be great! Best, BR

Posted by grecodan, on 2011-01-22 12:39:09

Clever set design can help a great deal. If you really plan your shots out, you can make your sets modular so, for example, you don't have to have all the walls of a room assembled at one time....just individual walls or corners. Shoot every shot from the angle that needs that wall or corner in the background, then break it down and move on to the next wall. You'd be amazed at how "big" a location you can cram in one garage if it's broken down properly. Of course, if you're doing a whole huge landscape like jriggity, that doesn't really work.

Posted by shakycow, on 2011-01-27 15:55:46

As has been mentioned, picking your shots to maximize your space would be the best bet, but if you need ample space and can't find a co-op, I know there are usually plenty of ads in the local 'PennySaver' or classifieds of people renting out their garages (often for very little). Generally, it'd be a low flat monthly fee - with them paying for electricity.... and if it's one that's attached to their house, instead of a free-standing one, they usually remain fairly warm. The downside is that there's no bathroom... but we all have to make sacrifices.

Posted by Nick H, on 2011-01-23 19:56:26

Well, I spent a lot of money on having a big shed built in the back garden, then set it up as an animation studio.... I don't suppose that is very helpful though... One thing that helps is to have things that fold up for storage or transport. I use standard TV/stage/film type folding rostrums for my tables. For a big landscape set I put 2 or 3 together. For a single room interior I use one smaller one. (Can be seen in my Tiedowns tutorial at my Youtube channel.) Then, I look at what needs to be seen in each shot. The same bit of ground or wall can sometimes be re-dressed to represent what you would see if you are looking in the opposite direction. With one set of a prison cell, I did make all 4 walls, but each could be removed. I've also resorted to making a set on a smaller scale, so I could fit more in for a wide shot, then making only small parts of the set in the bigger scale. I'd doing some set design for another director at the moment and will probably have to do that, there's no way the main location can be all built at 1:6 scale without an aircraft hangar to fit it in, so there will have to be a smaller scale for wide shots and some tight closeups of partial sets for most of the important story points with the main characters.

Posted by Altastic, on 2011-01-23 20:31:47

i'm about to head in a similar direction with no space in my tiny flat for the massive landscape sets i need. one thing i'm lookig at is self storage places. they come in heaps of different sizes, a solid floor for making a mess and no windows. the biggest problem i'm having at the moment is the lack of power. the other thing i'm trying is to talk to empty shop owners to see if i can use the space till someone wants to rent it. They had system like that running in Newcastle, see below. http://www.creativeinnovation.net.au/Features/RENEWING-NEWCASTLE.html sure would be useful if something similar happened in darwin.

Posted by Nick H, on 2011-01-23 21:25:02

A friend of mine hired an empty shop here in a suburb of Melbourne, on a similar 30-day rolling lease. It was a decent sized space, he just had to cover the glass windows in front so he could use it as a stopmo studio. Thatt was a few years ago now - no Newcastle style scheme in place. He offered the owner a smaller amount ($100 per week) than the usual shop rental, pointing out that it had been empty for a while, so that was better than nothing. If a genuine shopkeeper wanted it at commercial rates, he would have to leave at the end of the month. So the owner agreed and he set up his studio. I think he still had to pay the power bill, which was fair since he used a bit more for lighting than many would need. It went ok for 4 or 5 months, then the owner got greedy and started raising the rent. With everything set up and still in the middle of production, finding another place would cause a big delay, so he paid a bit more. After 2 or 3 rises it was more than he could pay, so he left. Then the shop was empty again for the next 12 months and earning nothing. There might be wharehouses or small factory buildings that are vacant, but not located on main streets where the owner expects a good return. They could actually be better suited than shops, without the big windows on the street. With a downturn in the economy, you'd think there would be a few places. That wouldn't fit in with the Newcastle scheme where the city's aim was to get rid of the derelict look of empty shops on main streets of course - nobody cares if a back street in an industrial zone looks shabby and empty except the property owners, and it's rent they want, not the appearance of being tenanted. I don't know what it's like in Darwin, never been there. Probably I'd want air conditioning before setting up a studio in the tropics, so that would rule a few places out.

Posted by castlegardener, on 2011-01-23 23:37:22

my puppet space used to be a closet...We removed the doors and built my set in the old closet space...

Posted by Rocketspaceboy, on 2011-01-27 20:30:23

I'm actually going smaller in scale for my sets. I'm talking H.O. scale. I can't believe I'm going that direction, but I can get a lot out of a little space and special lenses. Then I'm compositing the shots together after animating the elements seperate. After that I'm adding all the shadows and particle effects using (cough cough) CGI. It may sound weird but to get the specific look I'm after I need to go this direction. When I'm done I can guarentee 100% that you've never seen anything like this before. I didn't say it would be good, just different. :+