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Posted by FlapJackson, on 2003-07-21 12:53:03

Covering tie-down holes

Hi, I know there are lots of posts on this topic and I've read them all but there's one thing I can't understand. People suggested using clay or tape painted the same color as the floor to cover the holes, but won't that still be visible? If you paint over the clay while you're animating, won't the fact that the paint is still wet make it visible? And what about the difference in texture between the floor and the clay? Also, say you want a bird's eye view shot of your set after you've been drilling and filling holes. It seems like the floor would look like a complete mess. The movie I'm making right now has a simple apartment set, so I'm thinking about lifting up all the furniture and everything and sticking in a replacement floor for any shots in which the floor is very visible. Anyone have any thoughts about that? Thanks -john

Posted by jim danforth, on 2003-07-21 13:35:55

JOHN: 1) Wait until the paint is dry. 2) Carefully match the color and texture. Sometimes just simulating the texture with painted texture will work. 3) Film isn't very sharp compared to the human eye, but it is very COLOR sensitive. You may need to bias the color you paint to get it to photograph correctly (unless you have used the same paint to paint the floor of your set). 4) This part of animating is never easy or fun. 5) "It's only a movie: -- Alfred Hitchcock 6) Your idea about replacing the floor for that down shot sounds great. Jim

Posted by tennessee, on 2005-09-18 11:38:14

On 'Bump In The Night' we had a clever way to hide tie-downs. Find a small round wooden dowl rod and drill bit that are the same aprox size - we used 4-40 tie downs so we would use a #4 drill bit. Cut 1/4" sections of the wooden rod so you have a buncha round wooden 'pegs'. Stick the pegs to a piece of tape or paper coated with spray adhesive so that they are standing on end. Paint the end (top) of the wooden pegs the same color as you paint the floor of your set. (Bump floors often were a solid color with a stippled pattern of another color) Once the puppets foot (or apendage) reveales the hole...plug it!

Posted by Nick H, on 2003-07-21 18:53:20

Great answers, I especially like the Hitchcock quote! Re 1 & 4: I did some animation once of painted figures on rock. I had to paint the figure for the frame, let it dry, take the shot, then airbrush over it with the rock colour, dry that, and paint the new figure, let it dry - a lot of watching paint dry, which as we all know has a very poor entertainment value rating. I used a small electric blower heater (a hair dryer would do just as well) to hurry it up. Still took ages, but sometimes that's the way it is. If drying paint over plasticine, don't use too much heat or you could melt it. Re 2 & 3: My usual option is to go with a mottled paint effect, with several colours in it. That way perfect matching is not critical. You may not need to paint the plasticine if it's within the range of colours. From a low camera angle you can get away with more. Also you could mix your plasticine, then try to match the paint to that. If it has to be a clean perfect colour, keep some of the paint you mixed to paint the set floor, so you can be sure of a perfect match. Re 5: Amen. Re 6: Ditto. An alternative to replacing the floor is, shoot the bird's eye shot first. One more idea for an apartment set: Make it carpeted. Get some velour or coarse velvet material, something with a pile, in a colour or pattern that suits. Pre drill your holes in your ply/particle board/mdf floor. Stick down the fabric with a light spray glue, then cut little slits in the fabric over the holes with fine scissors. (The spray glue on the back of the fabric also binds it and helps to stop it from fraying.) The tiedown can poke through, but when it's removed the slit closes and is hidden in the pile of the fabric. I found I needed to put sewing pins to mark the holes I needed for the puppet walk in a particular shot. The head of the pin would sink into the pile just out of sight from the camera view, but I could see it from above, otherwise it was really hard to find the tiedown holes while animating.

Posted by FlapJackson, on 2003-07-23 15:25:32

That sounds too hard. Screw animation, I'm becoming a lawyer. Nah, just kiddin. All that advice completely rocks, especially the Hitchcock quote. That idea about the carpeted floor is ingenious, but it sounds like I'd have to plan all the scenes perfectly beforehand, which scares me cos I've never really been that kind of animator (maybe it's time I started, no?) Carpets would also be a much better look for an apartment than a painted floor. What's this plasticine stuff I keep hearing about? I looked it up and it seems like just a brand of clay. How is it better than regular clay? -john

Posted by jim danforth, on 2003-07-23 15:55:29

JOHN: Plasticine is regular oil-based clay. Some manufacturers have their own versions with slightly different properties and variations on the name -- Plastilena, etc. The Van Aken clays come in many colors and are more waxy (less oily). Jim

Posted by Nick H, on 2003-07-23 19:46:32

With the carpet option, you could drill hundreds of holes all over your floor board, in a grid pattern, to cover any possibility. They'll be hidden anyway. I don't choreograph every move either, but I usually need to have an idea where the character is standing or walking. Sometimes I have a few choices of tiedown holes, but heading in the same general direction. Having to drill an extra hole in the middle of a shot is risky, with sawdust and shaking the set, and with a stuck-down carpet in place it's impossible. You'd want to have the holes pre drilled for all the shots on that set before gluing the carpet on, the grid makes sure you've done it. I do that, then just mark with pins the holes I need for a particular shot. If the puppet has ideas of it's own and wanders off course (as they do), there are holes there and you can cut extra slits if you need to. I've done one set with just a painted set floor (pub set in Good Riddance) that looks like a patterned carpet, with a grid of tiedown holes in plain sight, but they are in the darker patches of the pattern and don't show up. If the pattern is bold enough it distacts the eye and works for most shots, but probably not an overhead bird's eye shot, you'd see they were round holes then. But a painted pattern with plasticine filled holes incorporated in the pattern would probably work better for an overhead shot than a single flat colour with filled holes where there's nothing to see except the imperfections in the surface. I made up a couple of upholstery foam stamps to make repeat patterns in various colours. The roughness of the sponge texture helps give it a stippled carpet look. You contact glue some 1" foam onto a ply backing, then cut out your pattern shapes on a bandsaw. Then sponge print using ordinary poster paint or wall paint. You can also cut patterns in a sponge paint roller with trimming scisors, and use that to roll a pattern on. Most appartments today don't have a bold pattern though, more a neutral beige all over, so the pile fabric option may suit your interior design better. If a grass green carpet suited, there are flocked crepe paper rolls of "grass" at model railway shops that could also work.

Posted by Strider, on 2003-07-23 23:57:35

Another possibility... cover your floor with sawdust or something similar, sprinkled onto spray adhesive. Keep a jar of the same stuff on hand, and when you need to fill a hole, put a little plug of plasticene in it (or plumbers epoxy) and a little sawdust.

Posted by amy, on 2005-09-16 23:34:26

Too bad velcro is so limited in color. You couls make the carpet from velcro and then just velcro your puppet down. hmm...I might have just solved my own problem...