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Posted by gloria, on 2004-09-17 07:42:41

making indoor rink ice surface

Gloria This is my first time as a registered user and I am a bit nervous. I am wanting to create an indoor ice surface in a hockey arena and need some suggestions. Plexiglass anyone?

Posted by Strider, on 2004-09-17 09:49:50

Hi Gloria, I think Plexiglass would work fine. I think I'd back it with foil or paper or something, and lay it on a sheet of steel, then have magnets in the puppets' feet. That or make your tabletop from plexi, braced somehow so it doesn't wobble, and then you can have steel in the puppets' feet and place magnets under the table. Any chance you could have the puppets attached to jointed arms, or some kind of simple flying rig, so you don't need to tie them down? Another solution I can think of is to not use plexiglass... an ice rink doesn't really look transparent... they tend to look white. Maybe you could just go with a painted surface, wood or whatever, and maybe a coating of gloss medium? That way you can just drill through and use regular tie downs, and plug the holes with something to match. Or possibly there's even a simpler solution. Now that I think about it, since you rpuppets will be skating, you COULD get away with no tie downs at all, and just slide them around. That would free you up to use plexi, or a mirror, or whatever you want. Of course you'd have to balance the puppets somehow. It would help if we knew more about how you're approaching this... realistic, cartoony, how big are the puppets, and how are they made, etc?

Posted by gloria, on 2004-09-17 10:26:02

I was so excited to recieve a reply. Thanks. As for puppets, the adults will be approx 8.5 inches so we are roughly working a 1/9 scale but because their heads and hands are exagerated, I am eyeballing most of the sets and props. The puppet guys talked about tie downs but I think are leaning towards rods attatched to back of neck so I doubt we will be destroying the set. Not much in the budget for me to redress and be there during the shoot. However removing rods in post is more work for the comp geeks.(Whom I love dearly) I will discuss the magnets with them and could possibly use a metal sheet on plywood. Paint the sheet color to resemble ice and presto. Could work like a charm except how do you hide magnets on a pair of skate blades?

Posted by Svaroh, on 2004-09-17 10:45:33

im one of the puppet guys for this project, (hi gloria) i cant believe we didnt think of te skate blades. i think that may really limit us to a flying rig, the magnets only really work when they are in direct contact with the surface. i dont think we can put magnets in the skates, and a magnet wont hold a character up on a thin blade when he's on one foot. as usual, any help, suggestions, advise is welcome from anyone with an idea, thanks. -Jordan

Posted by Jim Aupperle, on 2004-09-17 10:57:20

RE: "...removing rods in post is more work for the comp geeks." Gloria, Romoving support rods in post should be no problem so long as you can put the frames through a compositing program like Shake, After Effects or even Photoshop. The main thing you can do to help your comp geek friends (and this will insure they'll remain your friends) is to photograph a clean plate of the background that matches in every detail possible (lighting especially) the animation pass except this time it's without the puppets and animated props. With those two frame sequences they can erase the rods by creating mattes that cover them with the clean plate. If you're doing motion control moves with your camera then just be sure to use the same move on your clean plate too. You should watch out for any reflections of the support system that overlap reflections of your puppets in the set. This sort of thing takes more time to clean up in comp because you want one reflection and not the other so there's more hand done paint work required. Good luck and post some photos if you can. -Jim Aupperle One more helpful hint. Try to keep the support rods from showing up in front of the puppets. They're easy to erase if you just have to clean up the edge but more time is involved to repaint parts of the puppet.

Posted by Strider, on 2004-09-17 13:53:28

That sounds like a plan. Yeah, the blades could be a problem (if you don't go with the rod removal). I didn't know how realistic you wanted this... I guess i was picturing squat flat-footed puppets, and the viewer just sort of has to imagine the blades! But that's asking a lot of them, isn't it. I came up with another possibility. If you're going to have low camera angles it might work to have slots cut in the tabletop. That way it would be like regular tie downs, but you could slide them along rather than having to reposition for each new hole. Possibly you could put something in the slot to hide it except where the puppets are, or even use a similar technique to rod removal to hide it. Also, of course you're limited to cutting the slots in such a way that they don't make any closed shapes like circles or figure 8's, unless you want to build some kind of extra supports under the table to hold the cutout sections securely.

Posted by gloria, on 2004-09-17 15:20:04

Hi everyone! Thanks for the ideas guys and Hi Svaroh. Maybe we should just call each other on the old telephone. As for shooting a clean plate, our post guy already mentioned that so it will be done. I think for the amount of action on the ice, slots would make it impossible to not have our rink floor fall in small pieces. Good suggestion to remember for possible future projects. As for magnets in skates, I couldn't see that working either. So I guess we are back to painting a wooden base and applying gloss finish, possibly sanding and scratching to look worn (pre zambonie) and go with the rods. You guys have been great and I'm sure I will be back with a few more questions before this adventure is complete. Thanks. Later. Gloria

Posted by Nick H, on 2004-09-20 01:19:17

"Clean" plates involving the ice area are difficult if the ice is reflecting some of the colours of the skaters or if their shadows fall on it, but if the support rod comes down from above then you only have to paint out rods down to maybe shoulder level. So if the background behind is further back and not affected by the shadows of the puppets, the clean plate should match ok. If minor background characters mostly stay on 2 skates they won't need support, so that would save time. The master Clean Plate is there for safety, often you can paint out the wire using the frame before or the frame after, when the rod was in a different place. If there are other characters directly behind the rods, either they shouldn't be moving, or else you need to take an extra shot after your main character with rod has moved, but before moving the background character. That gives you the matching image for when you paint out the rod. I did leaping frogs on wires in a crowded pub, and I got caught out once when the wire went across a puppet's face that was moving - so the frame before, where the wire wasn't there, didn't match because the face had moved. It had to be hand painted for 3 frames to look like that face should have looked without a wire in front of it. For the ice I'd use 6mm (1/4") thick acrylic sheet (Perspex, Plexiglass). You could paint it on the underside and frost the top surface very lightly with clear spray and a little white to keep some transparency and depth. Some blade marks scratched in nice swooping curves would be good. You can sand very lightly to get a frosted effect too. If you want to bring back the gloss, pass a gas flame very quickly over the surface, it melts out the sanding marks.