Stop Motion Animation Forum Archive











Posted by jmarlin, on 2003-10-25 16:04:16

never built a set before

hi everyone! i've never built a stop-motion set before. Is it a complicated thing to do? Wha'ts the first step? Is there is books or information on how to build a set out there? If anyone has some advice for a begginer set- builder let me know. Thanks.

Posted by Nick H, on 2003-10-26 18:58:24

You could look through a few other similar topics here. There are a lot of different materials and methods to do most things, depending on what's available and what tools you have. A hand-held electric jigsaw is very useful if you are working with wood. There are some tips in Susannah Shaw's new book Craft Skills for Model Animation (at Amazon). Are you thinking a a set that is like the inside of a room, or an outdoor scene in the middle of a forest? For the outdoor scene, or even for interiors if you are going to see out a window, you will need a backdrop painting with the sky and maybe the distant horizon, or the further-away trees or buildings. In front of that you need a table or rostrum with a removable top that will be the floor of your set. I build folding rostrums out of pine, with a 12mm particle board top. I can screw or hot glue trees or walls or furniture to that top, and also drill holes for the puppet tie-downs. Give us an idea of the kind of set you want to create, and you'll probably get more suggestions than you know what to do with.

Posted by Boy Oyng, on 2003-10-26 22:49:39

Some general ideas, learned the painful way: 1. Plan your shots, then plan the set that you'll need to make those shots happen, then plan a bit MORE set than you think you'll need to give you a little freedom while shooting. 2. Figure out where the CAMERA will be for each shot. For example, will you need an extreme close-up using a wide angle lens? If so, you know your camera will have to be right up next to your puppet. The set needs to accommodate that. 3. Figure out how you'll LIGHT the set, in terms of how you want it to look, and where you will place your lights, and how you will move your lights between shots. 4. Figure out how you will ACCESS the puppets in the set. Try to provide for the most comfortable body position for yourself, and make sure you can access the tie-downs easily. This may involve having hidden trap doors in the set. 5. Figure out how you will SECURE the puppet during each shot. If you intend to drill holes for tie-downs mid-shot (for example, if a character is walking), make sure you'll be able to get the drill in position without knocking over a bunch of other stuff, and make sure you'll be able to get under the table to fasten the puppet in position. 6. If you're shooting by yourself, you'll need to access the camera and puppet without bumping into things. Plan your routes. (For a simple set in a simple shot, this could be nothing more than a swiveling bar stool placed so that your shadows won't impinge on the scene. 7. If you are shooting with a monitor, plan your lines of sight so you can see the monitor as you adjust the puppet. 8. Make everything STURDIER than you think you'll need to. "Everything" includes your set-pieces AND your tables. Mostly, this means using wood and plaster rather than cardboard, foam core, or rigid foam (except in safe, unlikely-to-be-bumped areas). 9. As for how to make the scenery, check out books on model railroading and diorama making for outdoor sets, and books on theatrical sets and dollhouse construction for indoor sets. And of course, study this site, as Nick suggests. 10. Put detail in where it really matters, and let suggestion and the viewer's imagination take over where you can. These are what come to me off the top of my head. Hope it's helpful... B

Posted by jmarlin, on 2003-11-02 11:34:38

well, I'm making a graveyard set. And e set for a the inside of a dugean which is inside the graveyard. I think the graveyeard will have to be pretty big becuase i have a lot of different shots and thigns going on in it. Jackie

Posted by Certassar, on 2003-11-02 15:34:00

Shooting from different angles, moving and swapping things around between shots, and making slight changes, can often give the illusion of different locations. If you aren't going to shoot panoramic views of the entire set, this way of "cheating" might save you some work.

Posted by Jim Aupperle, on 2003-11-02 15:59:11

RE: I think the graveyeard will have to be pretty big... You can save much space if you also build your graveyard set pieces in forced perspective. A number of shots in Nightmare before Christmas made use of this as did the cabin miniature for the corpse dance in Evil Dead 2.

Posted by cm, on 2003-11-02 21:44:56

If your not too sure what forced perspective is check out the first Lord of the Rings special edition DVD 4 disc set they explain it alot in that as they used it for the hobbits, I think it's on disc 3. Cheers, Clair

Posted by jpolacchi, on 2003-11-03 20:44:15

Well,I think most of what's been said has.I'm still new to animation,but I think alot of your set should be based on story boards,where the camera will be,where the puppet will be&be going to&where the animater has to be to have access to the puppet(s),as well as scale,which will play a big part in how your set is constucted,also whether or not electronics/lights will be involved along with your normal camera lighting. If you are working with big puppets&models,you'll need a big set,and thus things need to be planned more.I'd draw thumb nail sketches,then work up to something more like blueprints/plans.There's lots of ways to make a set&make one work,and I could'nt possibly think of them all. There's still alot I don't know,much of it involves the actual lighting&filming of a set.If done badly,your set&puppet will look there is a right&wrong way of doing it.I don't know if that includes the use of digital cameras.I've seen some posts discussing the use of them for stop motion,but I know very little of them,or about the subject.