Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Making of the Linger Trailer, Part Three

On to Part Three of the Making of the Linger TrailerIn Part Two, I talked about my intense familiarity with rubber cement and exact-o knives. Now it's onto the actual shooting of the project.

Here’s the set up for my desk -- I needed strong lighting to cast shadows (to emphasize that it was 3D) and I also needed a slightly tidier desk than I normally had. So Mr. Darcy the iMac was rehomed onto a children’s table, and about a million reader letters and receipts were relocated. A few dozen hardcovers helped hold up the lighting. Because finished copies of Linger don’t exist yet, Scholastic overnighted me a Linger dust jacket to wrap around a copy of Shiver (so don’t bother trying to read the book in the trailer; you probably already have).

19 desk set up

My genius replacement for the coat hanger support system was an adjustable lamp. As you can see here.

20 tree strings

 Originally, my birds were to be hung from strings and slowly lifted out of the book. With flapping action. Only, there was one problem: none of the paper birds would hang like birds. They weren’t weighted properly, so they hung nose-down and twirled. Obscene amounts of weight brought them upright, but they were still very unstable. Flapping their wings for the animation sent them crazy again. I gave up shooting for the night as I brainstormed with Lover and my brother.

Eventually, the boys came up with the suggestion of strings that the birds could move along, like a little birdie theme park. Little birdie ninjas. Avian swat team. Then I remembered that I had some Rose-Art modeling clay in one of my office drawers. I’d been keeping it for a rainy day and guess what, today was that day. Clay birds squished nicely onto the strings and could be moved up and down, flapping their wings agreeably the entire time. The strings got photo-shopped out of each individual frame. I saved my bigger paper birds for close up shots. Those got held with fingers that never appeared in the frame.

20 tree strings 2

18 skeet shoot

Here's my test animation with the birds and strings still attached.

17 tree stick 217 tree stick 1Oh, and the leaf. The floating leaf was done by the trick of taping the leaf to a stick and taking two photographs for each finished frame. One with the leaf and the stick in it. One with no leaf or stick in it. Later, I morphed the two photos together and removed the stick. See -- here’s with stick and without stick photos.

Then it was straightforward animation like I'd done for the Shiver trailer -- replacing one wolf cut out with the next to create movement, following the instructions I'd laid out for myself in my storyboarding. The hard part, I knew, was going to be the tree growing out of the book. I knew all along that the easiest way to pull off that bit would be to shoot it in reverse. Which didn’t mean I had to like it. Basically, the opposite of growing is being cut into tiny pieces, which is what happened. First the leaves got cut slowly off. Then the branches. And then the trunk. Finally there was nothing left of the four-hour tree but a pile of paper underneath my desk (which was when the Fed-Ex man arrived and looked a little scared by what my office looked like).

21 tree cutting

Then it was all put together in iStopMotion, a program that will play photographic frames at whatever speed you dictate. Timing was adjusted. Wonky animation sequences were altered. Ending credits added. All we needed now was the music. Which I guess will be Part Four, the last segment of the Making of.

Hopefully you're still entertained.


Larissa said...

Wow. You're a genius. Seriously.

(and, yes, I was entertained. I just read all of the making of posts and am still not bored.)

Maggie Stiefvater said...

That makes me happy, Larissa.

Ariadne said...

These have been so interesting. I watched the trailer and thought, how does one go about making that? It turned out so well. Thanks for giving us a look at how you do it.

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