Monday, February 18, 2008

Static electricity

I remember having to do all the flying weaponry on the afore mentioned shot animated by Roy and Raymond, a scene that ended up being nicknamed: Starwars, due to it's plethora of flying objects.
It's funny now, remembering the lengths I went to, to make sure things didn't look repetitive or predictable. Seeing the finished item, it zips past you at such a clip, that even I hardly see any of the stuff I animated into it.
I guess it's what I now refer to as the Maple syrup concept.
You have to distil a lot of maple sap into a thimble full of syrup but only the concentration of vast amounts of input into a tiny amount of output will make it taste as sweet as it ultimately does.
The 18 foot long background for this shot hat to be stuck with sellotape to the walls of the camera room, and unstuck and held by assistants for the motorized move between frames and then restuck to the walls.
I remember John explaining the process of 8 or ten camera passes on this monster of a scene.
Needless to say, that meant that the film in the camera had to be rewound those 8 or ten times to be re-exposed again and again.
After almost a week of shooting the shot finally turned up in the moviola and lo and behold, Dick spotted something...
The film, passing through the felt lined slots in the reel housing, had built up enough static electricity to start sparking inside the camera, and those sparks were visible as thin blue lightning on the exposed film.
Luckily, Dick deemed it mild enough a fault, not to warrant a reshoot, which probably saved John and Grahams life...

And here is the proof...


Holger said...

Maple Syrup Concept.
That is a good explanation for the appeal of a lot of the scenes in the film and also the lack of appeal of some scenes in the released versions of the Thief that didn't have the benefit of such "distillation", among other things.

Ian said...

Wow, the more I read about this film the more I am at wonder of it. The ridiculous amount of work put in to such short spaces of time, it kind of makes me feel light headed!

I agree with the above. Some scenes have this indescribable ethereal quality to them that I have never seen in any other animation.

How would you say this film rates in maple syrup sweetness to other animations? i.e. the ratio of time spent making to actual length of animation produced?