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STOP-MOTION SETS

Posted by sumosanta, on 2004-04-09 20:11:26

BIG tree tiedown

Hi, i am in in the process of making 4 trees for a stopmo flick. Each tree is made out of chicken wire covered in paster of paris. They are about 3 feet tall with a 6 inch diameter; the plaster is only around the outside of the chicken wire so that core is hollow. -- My problem is i am not sure what i should do to achor them to my set. I want them to be abl to be easily removed so that can move my camera into specific spots. I have thought of three ways: 1) somehow attach the chicken wire to a pvc pipe that runs through the tree's core, then put an end cap on the pipe and put a tie-down thru the end cap to anchor it to the set. 2)attach the chicken wire to a 2"x4" piece of wood and screw the wood into the set. 3) attach 4 screws to the base of the tree, drill 4 corresponding holes into the set and anchor the tree into the set in the same way you would for a puppet's foot tie-down. This is all i have thought of so far, what would you guys do to anchor these down???

Posted by Nick H, on 2004-04-12 21:49:57

I make them onto a flat piece of plywood, cut to a curve or sort of rounded 3 or 4 point star shape. (To allow for the roots at the base being wider in places.) I usually attach a vertical strip of wood to that, and build the chicken wire shape around it. I make the plaster tree 3/4 round, open in the back, so I can put a screw through the base into the set floor in behind. If you have no base, but do have a vertical timber piece inside, you could put a screw through the set flor from below, into the wood. If there's no wood, use hot glue to stick the tree down.

Posted by Sock Puppet, on 2004-08-10 19:09:06

I have been very happy with my results. This is how i do it: Instead of chicken wire, i use thick copper wire for the armature. A slightly smaller gage for the main branches, and then small gage steel wire for the even smaller branches coming off the medium gage copper wire. If you need extra girth to the tree before applying the plaster, you simply cover the tree in foam. You could use polystyrene insulation foam, or any othertype of foam that suits your style. I have used polyfoam, polystyrene, and upolstry foam before, as well as a ton of other materials to get texture, and whatever else you want. You CAN also use chicken wire around the copper wire armature to getthe thickness needed intead of foam. This works well too. But i like using the foam instead, because it is just as light and you can manipulate the foam with a hot knife, or carve it or whatever before you add plaster. And if you do a good job on the foam, you do not need to apply ANY plaster. And in the end you have an even lighter tree, since the plaster weighs a lot. When i first started doing this i was brazing all the copper branches together with a torch. Now it worked well, but i found itto be rather oevr kill, and resorted to just twistingthe wire togther. Either way works fine. So now how do you anchor? Well i start off with an L bracket. It is a bracket found at Home Depot/Lowes....and well its in the shape of an L ;) I tape or glue the wire to the L bracket as the main connection. If you glue you should tape it first anyway. And then use plumbers epoxy to get a nice firm bond. Other materials may work as well. It is importantto let this cure for a minimum of one day before working on it. You dont want it breaking free. Once it is cured, you can reinforce it with tape or cynoacrylate, although it is notreally needed. And just make sure that you leave part of the L bracket towards the back (unseen) part of the tree free, so that you may use a screw to fasten it to the table. If your screws are too small, you can use a washer to ensure it will hold. This technique works very well. And the L bracket works well for all types of set abjects like interior walls etc... email me if you would like to see an example of a tree or armature of the tree. jjennings@cfl.rr.com _josh