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Captain Zuloo

[old] Brickfilming Tutorial

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Hey,

Recently there have been many responses in a poll I created saying a brickfilm forum on Eurobricks (or at least some tutorials as starters) would be a good idea. This is what prompted me to take the time to write this.

Please note: I intend to create a few tutorials. Mostly software is expensive but I will try to demonstrate the methods involved in making a brickfilm with as much freeware as possible.

Second Note: Do not attempt a brickfilm if you have a short attention span - brickfilming is very tedious and requires a lot of patience, but the results (if done correctly) should be worth the trouble! :classic:

Part 1 - The Set-Up

This is a very important part of producing a brickfilm as it largely dictates the quality of the final movie. There are things to consider such as lighting, space, hardware etc. They are all very important things that require a decision as to how much you want to make your film making budget.

Lighting - is very important as it plays a huge role in the overall mood of the film. You should have a light for the backdrop (you'll see why later), the main subject, and one illuminating the whole set from behind AT LEAST. The more lighting the better. But remember, plastic gives off a shine so don't be discouraged if it takes you quite a few attempts to get the lighting right so as the subject doesn't give off a reflection.

Backdrops - The most effective backdrop is a solid, well lit green or blue peice of card board. That is what they film all of the huge blockbusters involving action-packed sequences that would be impossible to film in the real location. eg. Starwars. The way it works is simple. The subject is filmed in front of a solid colour backdrop. Then, during post production (editing) the backdrop is replaced with any image or video. This image can be CGI or real - it doesn't matter. The point is, using this blue/green screening method, you can defy the laws of possibility This process is really called charoma keying, but you'll learn how to do that in a later tutorial.

Power - This may seem simple, but trust me. There will be people that will get a huge desk all set up and then realise they have no where to plug their computer, lights etc. into.

Desk - The best place to make a brickfilm is on a desk. I tend to have my laptop on my left hand side as you will see in one of the images, my backdrops bluetacked (adhesive putty) to the wall and my subject and set bluetacked to the surface of the desk securely. I then have my lights positioned accordingly.

Computer - Yes it is obvious, but I just thought I will point out that you do need a computer for this.

Camera - I use a Logitech quick cam go! but other webcams can be used. Some still cameras can be used with other programs, but not the one used in this tutorial. When you are positioning your camera, ensure that you won't accidentally bump the cord or camera as it will make for a jumpy final product.

Frame Rate (FPS)

A fim is actually made up of a number of still images that are played back at a set rate per second. This "rate" is known as the frame rate, or FPS (frames per second)

The most common is 15fps which can produce a smooth image if animated correctly, however there are other speeds such as 5fps, 10fps, 12fps, 24fps etc. The higher the frame rate, the more images per second and thus the smaller your subjects movments must be to get a smooth animation.

Filming

This tutorial makes use of Anisazi Stop Motion Animator (SMA) which can be downloaded from here. You will need to download it for this tutorial.

Firstly, open SMA. By default it should be set to 15fps. If not refer to the SMA help menu for help on how to change the framerate to 15fps.

You should have your have your subject in the viewer. This means the camera is pointing to the subject.

Stand you subject like so:

tutorial0002.jpg

in the first position of the movement. The screen should look like this.

tutorial0005.jpg

Click grab. You now have one frame.

Next move your subject like this.

tutorial0003.jpg

Your screen should look like this.

tutorial0007.jpg

Click grab. You now have your second frame.

Then move the subject like this.

tutorial0004.jpg

The screen should look like:

tutorial0008.jpg

After your movement is complete, play it back in the SMA viewer, and save the avi video to your computer. :wink:

Edited by Captain Zuloo
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Mmmm...nice tutorial :thumbup: Captain Zuloo, I always did wonder how it was done.

This could het me started, I am maybe going to make a short Lego Pirates movie myself, but first I must graduate from the Academy, which will take some time (currently taking more and better pics of the SES)

I will add it to my project pile though.

Thanks for the information and the tutorial!

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What a great tutorial! :thumbup: Finally I can make some movies! BTW, is SMA free? I hope so! If it is, its movie making time! :sweet:

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What a great tutorial! :thumbup: Finally I can make some movies! BTW, is SMA free? I hope so! If it is, its movie making time! :sweet:

Yes SMA is free for all! Next tutorial will be walking at 15fps.

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Excellent tutorial, Thank You Captain Zuloo! Please do a tutorial on Chroma Keying soon. I have been struggling with that in my films, It would be much appreciated here.

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Excellent tutorial, Thank You Captain Zuloo! Please do a tutorial on Chroma Keying soon. I have been struggling with that in my films, It would be much appreciated here.

Keying is a little tricky as there aren't that many freeware programs that do it well. So if you happen to have Sony Vegas Movie Studio then I can give you expert advice on keying. However I will only be able to provide a brief tutorial for most other programs. so let me know what program you use and I'll give you a tutorial.

EDIT: There is a freeware program that has keying capabilities. I'll release a tutorial on that in a few days to a week.

Edited by Captain Zuloo

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Nice and simple tutorial.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this with the rest of us noobs :thumbup:

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Nice and simple tutorial.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this with the rest of us noobs :thumbup:

That's Ok. :classic: Just make sure you use this knowlege to create a brickfilm of your own. We want as many as possible.

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nice tutorial Captain Zuloo, easily understandable by everyone, and very well done and useful, great job :thumbup:

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I've added this to the index.

And again thanks for sharing your knowledge on this. :thumbup:

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Thanks for that. Hopefully we will have enough tutorials to have their own index eventually.

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I made a stop motion of building a lego set a few weeks ago and it takes forever. Not easy as I thought. Need good lighting, patience and mucho amount of time.

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I made a stop motion of building a lego set a few weeks ago and it takes forever. Not easy as I thought. Need good lighting, patience and mucho amount of time.

Do you have a link on youtube or another video hosting site?

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Do you know how to insert sound?

I find it hard

I have always inserted sound after I have animated. I use programs like Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas Movie Studio to edit and put together my film. I put sound in this stage.

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Nice tutorial :thumbup::classic: Usually in animation, the sound dialog track is recorded first. Then you animate to that script. Their are sheets you can use or programs that will help keep the time noted so one knows which syllable is where and how the mouth is to move. Might want to story board too if you go this route. But if you have no talking and mouths to sink then you can do sound after.

The time sheets can look something like this rough example:

1:00:01 | I |

1:00:02 | |

1:00:03 | Like |

1:00:04 | |

1:00:05 | ride- |

1:00:06 | ing |

1:00:07 | |

1:00:08 | my |

1:00:09 | |

1:00:10 | ni- |

1:00:11 | cy- |

1:00:11 | cle |

On the right section you can draw a picture of the what the mouth would look like at that point. But this is stuff you learn later on. First thing to learn is patience. You'll need a ton of it and you'll find out if you got it when you just do a no sound video trial. :) I belong to an animation forum and I've made stop motion puppets and some simple animations. I have much to learn. Ironically I've never made a Lego stopmotion animation movie or "brickfilm"

My Dr. Pickles character.

DrPicklesbyJGrimm.jpgDrPicklestiesbyJGrimm.jpg

Wire armature and clay head, clay feet. My mother made his pants & lab coat as she sews well. Her sister sews costumes for festivals.

Next pic shows his show holes which have nuts in the shoe to insert the screw ties so that he is clamped down when animating and can't fall ober. :)

Edited by Grimmy

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when is the next tutorial coming, and I tried doenloading the software but it says the page could not be found.

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