27/01/10 - Saint Mary

Here's an unofficial music video for Saint Mary by Sparklehorse. Best viewed non full screen to avoid any nasty compression artefacts - I had problems with some of the more subtle parts of the film when compressing it for the web.

It was done using my Dad's old slide projector from the 1950's, with a bit of after effects cheating. The projector allowed me to have two slide cases in at a time, and each of them could have three layers within them so I could change the focus of the lense between each layer. Although I only actually did this on a couple of shots. Here are some of the slides I drew for the video...


And here's the projector - you could actually open it up and slide a longer piece of acetate through, which is how I did the scrolling trees at the start.


17/01/10 - I Done A VJ Gig!

Me and Garry volunteered our services for a charity gig held in a music library the other day, doing visuals for a band called Found. I'll hopefully get a bit of footage up soon - I especially enjoyed scratching the duracell battery in and out of Mr Birdie's arse :D



05/01/10 - 5 Featured On BBC Film Network

5 is on the front page of the BBC Film Network website at the moment - here is a picture of it, in case you don't believe me :) It's also being screened on the British Shorts programme at the Lichtspielklub Kurzfilmfestival in Berlin on the 18th of January.

13/11/09 - McDonalds On The Brain

Here's a little film I made over the last couple of weeks in my spare time. The song is McDonalds On The Brain and it's by Daniel Johnston. It's been good to bang something out really quickly - I just felt I needed to get away from the slightly boring precision and technicality of the 3d Zoetrope stuff for a bit. I might do another one next week :D

05/10/09 - Sound Design at Ink.Digital

Just thought I'd post a few of the sound design projects I worked on during my time at Ink - click on them to have a look at the movies on the Ink website.

National Debt Line

This was the first professionl sound track I'd ever done, so it was a bit of a stressful job, and I only had three days to get it done. I'm pretty happy with it, although they had to lower the volume of all my lovely crunchy coiny monster noises in the broadcast version cos they drowned out the voiceover a bit.

Natural Scotland

A bit less to do on this one as the music and voiceover take up most of the space. The Elephant and text noises are me squeezing empty plastic water bottles and blowing into other plastic things :-)


Again, not quite as involved as the Debt Line advert, but still fun to do. Some magical voice work at the end there!

18/08/09 - 5 Selected For ISFF in New York

And no, I don't get jetted out there to attend, unfortunately. I'm pretty chuffed it's been chosen though - seems like the Imagine Science Film Festival is a really up and coming event aimed at promoting collaboration between scientists and film makers.

20/07/09 - Marvin Returns

I got an email the other day from 'Bones Factory' on Vimeo saying he'd re-designed the sound for one of my films! He's done a pretty decent job too, certainly better than the rushed rubbish I did for the original... Thanks very much Bones :D

22/06/09 - Hello!

And welcome to my new blog, which will mainly be about me trying to figure animation stuff out, but also hopefully sharing some of the knowledge I've built up over the various things I've been playing about with for the last couple of years. I've tried to include a bit of insight into the processes involved in making some of my films (linked to on the left) as well, although it's hard to remember many of the details - if you're interested, take a look at my old student blog as it may have some more relevant information.

Anyway, there's some catching up to do so this will be a bit of a mammoth first post I'm afraid.

My current ideas have all sprung from this one little video I caught on youtube about 6 months ago. It's essentially a 3d zoetrope where the illusion of movement is achieved with the shutter speed of the video camera instead of a strobe light or the slits of a traditional zoetrope. The minute I saw these little guys passing the parcel I knew I had to try this out for myself.


I decided to email the guy who made this video, Jim Le Fevre, to see if he could help me out and luckily, he turned out to be a top bloke who shares my willingness to spread knowledge. Basically, he gave me the magic formula to get it working, and saved me having to attempt a lot of horrible maths, so I could just dive right in with the fun stuff. Thanks Jim!

It still took a few goes to get it working though. Below is the very first version I made - a peice of wood, going up and down. Exciting eh? It didn't work though because for some reason I decided to completely ignore Jim's advice and used the wrong numbers - 30 divisions of a 25cm diameter circle instead of 33 divisions of a 30cm circle, which meant the animation slid around the circumference instead appearing to be stationery. I think the mistake helped me grasp a deeper understanding of the technique though, and made me think about why it had gone wrong.

I tried this first test out with a couple of VJ-ing mates, as I thought it would make a nice live video feed to mix up with other stuff...

I was still srtuggling to get my head around the idea of working in 33 frame loops though, so I copied Jim and did some tests with drawing pins, just to help me figure it out. I had to film these with a stills camera though as I had no access to my brother's fancy DV camera yet, so these are stop motion.

Filming this frame by frame lead me down a slightly different path for a while and it got me thinking about how I might incorporate the record player technique into a film, and how I might come up with different applications for the spinning, rotating movement.

This explosion test was also done using the record player and is also stop motion, but I had an idea of how this might also be developed later using the 3d zoetrope. I made some paper mache domes and pricked lots of little pinholes in them, painted them black shone a light from inside and animated them rotating on the turntable, just to see what I could do with them in After Effects really...




After this little detour (which took longer than you might think), I finally got around to figurnig out the 3d zoetrope properly. I decided to keep it simple and did a really basic arc loop in After Effects so I could just print the frames straight onto acetate and they'd be exactly the right length for the circumference of the disc - all I had to do was stick them onto the edge of the wood with blutac. And it worked! Woo!

It's a really good feeling when you get this working properly for the first time, there's just something magical about seeing animation happen right in front of your eyes. Although, strictly speaking, it didn't actually happen right in front of my eyes because the display on the camera I was using wasn't deinterlaced and was just a big blurry mess until I took the footage into FCP. Yet another bit of the learning curve scaled - I didn't twig that this would be the case until I'd spent a good few hours despairing that I'd never get the bloody thing working.

The next step was to combine the paper mache dome idea I'd done before, with the 3d zoetrope. Construction of the giant nipple commenced!



This is the first test run of the big dome I did, just to make sure it was working properly. (The reason the lighting is so poor, by the way, is because I had yet to realise that I could adjust the settings on the camera to allow more light into the shot - the high shutter speed needed for the effect to work shuts out most of the light, especially if it's artificial, so I had to use a torch).

And finally, this is where I'm at now. I needed to shoot this during daylight hours so I'd have enough light to film with the high shutter speed, so the dome had to be painted black on white and then inverted in post. Some of these shots are layered up in After Effects, but they're mostly pretty close to the original footage, no extra animation added or anything, just a few glow effects and some colour correction.

I'm pretty confident with the technique now, and I feel I've developed it into something I can call my own. All I need to do is figure out exactly what I'm going to use it for and how I can combine it with other techniques and ideas.

Just to round off this post, here are a couple of videos by other people working along similar lines. I'll keep you posted on my progress...

Sculpture Is... - By Sculpture

Moray McLaren, 'We Got Time' - by David Wilson

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