Almost make it | Stop motion film made during lock-down

A Producer asked me if we can make stop motion film during lock-down. I said yes, as a Producer, a Director and a Video Creator. It need a weird plan and guts to try on. The pitch then gone under the radar. But I still want to produce a film, so I go on with my plan. I don’t want to bother my crew, so I did everything from scratch, by myself and the help of family members.

The film took me 11 days to shoot, 10-15 working hours per day. Shooting by day, post production by night or preparing props and costumes for next scenes.

And a part of it, I want to keep myself busy to avoid negative and depression news out there. It seems that work, at least for me.

The script

Like any other film, I need a script, a storyboard. The thing is I worked on this all the time, write it, fix it, adjust it, redo it, rethink it, the script changing and forming more solid. I didn’t stick to first thoughts tho, I let the story itself flow naturally, sounds kinda spontaneous, but it’s not, can’t explain yet.

Set design

An miniature house used as set for the scene. The box is around 12x20x12cm, impossible to put a DSRL or mirrorless camera in, but an iPhone is not a problem. Then I decided to shoot the whole film in iPhone XR to maintain the consistency of ‘mobile phone’ output. The iPhone XR can snap photo at 4K, but due to its micro sensor, well, can not compare image quality to even a less most bulky as Micro four third sensor cameras.

The result. The iPhone XR’s single lens is a 26mm f1.6 equivalent. To achieve this with a bigger camera, I need an Laowa probe lens 24mm, which is an impossible option in this time.

This is another scene which timeline in the morning, top shot when the shipper grab his phone and accept delivery requests. Rig arms made by our technical workshop Delta Forge is pretty useful in this situation. Having an in-house workshop is a bless to creativity and effective way to tackle film making problems these days.

The result.

Home-props master

There is no props and wardrobe department available, so I have to make it from everything I found in my home. Costume is another fun thing. I am not good at sewing and making puppet clothes, but my mother in-law is super handy and she helped me out (yes, you don’t hear it wrong, my mother-in law).

These riding scenes took me a whole day, around 12-14 working hours to animate it.

I made the yellow coat and medical suit with her supervision and advices. I tossed the first one and redo, fortunately, second one is not so bad. I also made a piece of glasses for medic to make her look more ‘doctor-ish’.

Thanks to the free upgrade of Dragonframe 5 (licensed), I can connect my iPhone wirelessly to the mac, that feature is a HUGE plus that make everything related to ‘connection’ much easier. Love it!

I tried quite a lots of technics and practical effects in this film, there are some that I never done it before. I make this as a test, to produce a stop motion short with limited resources at hand during lock-down time. Yes, the producers, agency or client, everyone have a right to being skeptical, that’s fair.

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