We’re finally getting settled here in Kansas City. The meadow set is still in Oregon and I plan to work on finishing the meadow scenes next summer when I visit. Upon arriving at this house I had rented sight unseen based only on its location and a couple of photos, I was delighted to find a spacious basement! The house description only mentioned laundry hookups in an unfinished basement, so I didn’t know what to expect. The garage I had been planning to use as my animation studio is very small and subject to temperature extremes and I’ve heard that the hail gets pretty big around here so keeping my car in the garage seems like a better use of that space.
I’ve documented my steps to preparing the basement for shooting the dancing doll dream scenes. They will be dancing in a blank black space so the set is very simple. To get the space ready, I needed to build an animation table and cover four basement windows with duvetyne curtains.
The basement is large, but the ceilings are not as high as I am used to. My first thought was to build a table that measured four feet by four feet, but I realized I didn’t need a table that big for this scene and decided to build two smaller tables so that I can use one for animation and have a second to use as a workbench until it is needed for expanding the animation space. My first step was to draw a plan for the table and make a list of supplies.
NOTE 12/30/14: These steel sheets are too thin! They don’t lay totally flat and they flex while animating. Moving one doll wiggles others! Also, I found an article explaining that magnetic attraction is weaker on thinner metal surfaces. That helps to explain why they are not standing as well as usual. Here’s the article on Steel Thickness and Magnetism. I’ve made it through the first major dance scene on the thin sheets, wobbles and all, but will be replacing them with a thicker gauge stainless steel back splash I found at Lowes. The thicker metal will work much better.
Once the table was complete, I turned my attention to blocking out the light. The basement had four windows to cover so I made curtains out of duvetyne, a very thick black fabric, and hung them with tension rods.
Next step: Lights! Camera! Action!