LIO's Late Breaking News Headlines and Much More

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Don't try this at home, kids

When I decided to make this movie, I had a 'little' problem - no camera. I did still have my old trusty Super-8 but didn't feel that was an option for what I wanted the film to look like. And of course there was that other 'little' ingredient I didn't have - money.

I should mention also, at that time I had never even touched a computer or digital camera. I was very intimidated by the whole computer thing, I didn't want to spend the money and time involved at the same time I was trying to reinvent the concept of how to make animation puppets. I also had not animated a puppet in about 18 years and wanted to focus on practicing my animation skills and not spend that same time ripping my hair out trying to learn what a gigglebyte is.

I got the the crazy idea of shooting frames on 35mm print film, when I did the math, it actually seemed like a workable option. After shooting a test shot, I concluded that the 35mm film was indeed an option and thus decided to undertake the challenge.

I shot around four minutes of my film using this method, one of the things I liked about the idea was the ability I had to paint directly onto the photos, giving me the ability to add birds flying in the background, bugs and even blur effects. I did notice a variation in color and contrast from roll to roll of film but, when I would view the photos like a flip-book animation, the variation seemed minimal and something that I would just need to deal with later.

Long story - short, once the computer bug finally got around to biting me, (ok, my wife went out and bought a MAC on the bet that I wouldn't be able to resist any longer!) I then started rephotographing all the stills I had shot up to that point... that's when I discovered what an awful idea the 35mm film really was. The 'minor inconsistencies' in the color and contrast were AWFUL! It seems that when you 'flip book' through the pictures, all that flickering of the edges of the paper photos is enough of a distraction to your eyes, the color changes are made far less noticeable than they really are.

That's when I began learning everything I could about the power of Photoshop! So here's a sample for you to see of the 'flip book' days, tell me if you notice any color changes. And remember kids, don't try this at home...


Shelley Noble said...

Nope, only see coooool! That looks so amazing, Ron.

Sven Bonnichsen said...

Um... Maybe? I can see how the flipbook method could disguise inconsistencies.

But that aside -- like Shells says: cooool!

Paul (Vortex42) said...

Wow... That is mind-boggling.

You've made one of the most incredible flip-books in history! ;o)

I can totally understand where the inconsistencies might come from. Would you not have been better scanning the negatives into your computer, as actually making the hardcopy photograph can create inconsistency from photo to photo.

However, I'd imagine, the number of inconsistencies would be much less by using the negatives.

Whatever way it is done, those photos are a spectacle!

CJandBuster said...

An ITFoG flip book!?!?! You gotta market that thing:)

As for noticing inconsistancies..perhaps your right about the flipping maskign it as I was unable to see anything. Neat idea Ron. Your film looks fantastic.

Ryan McCulloch said...

Dude you are so old-school! Show those kids how it's really done!

jriggity said...


Mad Max Winston said...

Are you insane?!?!
Just kidding, this is very cool.
But you are still insane.
Not necessarily for this, but for those cable - controlled puppets!
Insane in a good, cool way.

Anonymous said...


Four minutes of flipbooks? First can opener vids and now this. Your brilliance is from another planet.*

*Except for that one thread where you totally bet me five bucks and I won by posting a direct quote from a thread you started about the same subject we were arguing about. Bahaha! You're slipping, my friend. I tease in good fun, though. You don't owe me anything; my animated avatar is payment enough.

Uh, you should probably get something to wipe your morning coffee off your monitor and shirt:)

Darkstrider said...

Hey Ron!

Tonight i hooked up my old computer and saw the email you sent a while back..... I'm still utterly cut off on the email front (as far as sending, I can see some of them on my new computer and all of them on the old one when I hook it up). Anyway, things are going great! No real progress recently on my film, but now that I replaced my screwed-up printer and my computer that was incapable of doing animation, I can get back to it. Tried to send you an email through the old computer, but no idea if it'll show up (probably not). Ghaaaah!!!! I feel so cut off!!!!

idragosani said...

Hey Ron, it's Brett from I'm just getting back into animation (both 2d handdrawn and stop-motion) after many years also. I'm going with the DV capture route right now, mainly because I already have all of the gear I need on hand already (including software)... my day job is as a computer geek so this is really the easiest way to go to start with.

The 35mm flip book idea is cool... you could easily scan those and color correct with Photoshop or similar.

bestpmchennai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

About Me

My photo
Floral Park, N.Y., United States
I am an artist and animator with over 20 years experience in all areas of tactile image creation including film and Television.